In the north of Poland the most popular cities to visit have been coined the “tri-city” excursion. This consists of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia. I, as I think is most common, set up base in Gdansk and just took the day to go and see both Gdynia and Sopot via the tram – which proved a lot more complicated than it should have been!
First, if you are planning to go on this day trip be careful not to accidentally buy a train ticket, and not a tram ticket for the SKM company. When I went to the desk and said Gdynia the woman gave me a 4PLN ticket and I was madly rushing between platforms and being told it wasn’t the correct ticket for different trains even though I was sure at least twice that it was! It was very confusing because then someone told me that I couldn’t just get to Gdynia from Gdansk by train at all – however there are trains that go there and its a pretty simple thing in my opinion so perhaps this was a language barrier rather than a fact! Eventually I refunded my tickets (Intercity lets you do this for a 10% loss) and found the correct platform for the SKM.
Upon reflection, something very confusing for me in Poland was that the trains not only have platform numbers but track numbers as well. This doubled my confusion. I could have sworn that usually there was just a platform number, but no no. The Polish like to do it different, which is actually a sensible system once you figure out which number is that platform and which number is the track!
Once on the tram, having bought a ticket from the machine for about 6PLN it was easy breezy. I got off at Gdynia Glowna and headed in the direction of the sea, spotting on my way a vegan burger joint which put me in good spirits! I must be honest, there was very very little to see in Gdynia. First of all you see the new and industrialized side of the city. Once you walk through this it is much like any slightly old and run down seaside town in England, with the billowing signs for ice cream bars and the smell of frying fish that seems to have stained the air long after the struggling restaurants have closed down or shut for the season. Walking towards the modern towers, they were vaguely impressive, probably because of their contrast from the rest of the seaside amusements. Of course, I was there extremely out of season, but some people were still walking the promenade and others patronizing the little souvenir shops that sell various sea shells and mugs with the city name on it, and everything else you would expect.
I never say that a place is not worth going to, and in hindsight I am really glad to have seen the city of Gdynia, but whilst there with the threat of the rain and the icy wind pushing you around, with really not a lot going on and not a lot to feast your eyes on, I was thinking that it wouldn’t have been a great shame to have missed it off the list. I think that perhaps with children, in the summer season it would be a great and buzzing place – there were playgrounds and gardens and some other water-based attractions advertised. On the upside, like a lot of the other places I visited in Poland, there was a whole range of Vegan and Vegetarian restaurants that made me feel at home!
Because the city is a small one, when I decided to leave I went for a little stroll down to Gdynia Redlowo SKM to catch the 6PLN tram to Sopot.
You will know the Sopot stop that you want to get off at as there is a view of the high street from the tram just before it pulls into the station. Now, this is a city that was made for fairytales. Immediately upon exiting the modern and sleek station you can sense the charm of this city, though it is still dominated by the characteristics of any other seaside village, just like Gdynia. I walked along to the church (Tadeusza Kościuszki 1) I had seen from the tram to get a little look at the architecture, and found a lovely looking cafe, “DWIE ZMIANY”, just opposite where I went to get a moments break from the wind, and to utilize free wifi in exchange for a cup of tea in the lovely lovely interior.
I then slowly wandered down the high street which I had glanced from the tram windows and found myself outside the very very famous Krzywy Domek (translated into “Crooked House”). I had been really excited to see this feat of architecture, and it really does confuse
After this, I walked toward our eyes thatthe pier and braved the arctic weather and the wind that really could have blown me overboard in the determination to reach the eway you would think – more so than a photograph can represent. However, I was a little disappointed to see that this attraction was home to a cafe chain rather than something amazing and groundbreaking to echo the facade! I would also like if they trimmed the trees back a bit so that you can see the full effect of the distortions, but thats just me being pickynd! During the trek I shared humorous looks with the other tourists who were equally determined to do such a silly thing when it so obviously is an activity for summer, not October – at least we could all laugh somewhat at our own stupidity. After multiple photos of the crashing waves and the seagulls being thrown from side to side I returned to the solid land just as it began to rain. Then I made my way back to the station through the gardens and along new streets with beautiful little houses and rather particular architecture which is as sweet as sugar!
In conclusion, I am happy to have seen these smaller cities which have quite a lot of hype about them, but they weren’t really my type of place – I think that if you like places like Weston-Super-Mare and other seaside resorts that rarely have the appropriate weather for whats on offer then you would love these stops! I am happy that I didn’t plan longer than a few hours in each though, to say the least!