Four years ago to the day, while studying abroad in Sweden, two friends and I hopped on a plane for a short flight over to Gdansk, Poland. We had planned this trip only a few weeks before after finding round trip plane tickets for about $30 a piece. At first, I didn’t believe it. Flying between two countries for $30? Yeah right. Prices that low are unbelievable, especially for international flights! We would have been stupid to have passed up the chance for a mini-vacation to Poland.
Admittedly, mid-November wasn’t an ideal time to visit Gdansk. When we arrived in the afternoon, already bundled up in our puffy coats and scarves we had needed leaving frosty Sweden that morning, I noticed things were bleak and muted. That’s probably an unfair judgment though. I had been taking a class that semester on communism and the unit we recently wrapped up had been about the harsh living conditions under Poland’s communist party. I’m sure that clouded my perception. But, these initial thoughts were to be the last negative ones I would have of Gdansk because the rest of the trip was a dream filled with good food, good drink, and good friends.
We experienced so much stuff that weekend:
- Visited a medieval torture museum. 10/10 would recommend!
- Bought beautiful rings and trinkets made of amber. (I’ve since lost the amber from my ring and want to re-visit Gdansk for the sole purpose of buying another. Euro trip, anyone?)
- Tried and hated absinthe. Going into it I knew it would taste like black licorice and I still had a glass. So young. So stupid.
- Discovered that the buildings and boats of Gdansk are actually quite colorful. Contrary to my first impressions.
- Ate bigos (for almost every meal).
- Fell in love with bigos.
- Tried warm spiced wine for the first time.
- Visited the largest medieval castle in all of Europe. And got yelled at by the train conductor on the way back for not buying the correct tickets. We paid more than we should have, what did he care!?
Fun is too small and commonplace a word to describe this trip. The spontaneity of booking our tickets and hostel only a few weeks in advance combined with traveling there in the off season with great friends made this a perfect weekend. If you ever find yourself in Europe and you see dirt cheap tickets for Gdansk, Poland buy them immediately! And, while you’re at it buy one for me, too!