We just returned from our Poland trip last week and it was memorable. I have submitted reviews of the hotels we visited (Hilton Gdansk, Novotel Gdansk Marina, Bonerowski Palace and Grand Hotel Sopot) and will be doing some more restaurant reviews in the near future. Rather then telling you about these experiences, I thought it was important to say more about our overall impressions and memorable moments.
My Hubby was doing one of his two day teaching jobs in Gdansk and then we travelled to Krakow for some sight seeing. We have had several trips to Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Croatia and have enjoyed them greatly as the other many places in Europe that we have visited.
I don't think we were totally prepared for how great/warm the Polish people are. Normally when my husband does these quick teaching jobs we arrive a couple of days in advance, he teaches and that is that. NOT so in Poland. After his first day of teaching, we (yes, me too) were taken out to dinner to one of the finest restaurant in Gdansk. The organizers had a nice/small gift for my husband and short speech recognized how appreciative they were of all of the presentors. Like WOW!
We decided to hire a private guide to take us to Malbork Castle. We got her name out of Rick Steves travel guide and we had a fabulous time. Agnes picked us up at the conference hotel (and all our luggage) and even the hour drive to Malbork was full of interesting information such as the 50,000 storks that return to Poland every year and about Mennonite settlers that drained the marshes of this area and turned it into fertile farmland that it is. NO travel book tells you about this.
She also told us what it was like to grow up in Poland of the past and making the transistion to Poland of today. We also discussed housing costs since both Hubby and I were taken with the lovely seaside location of Gdansk and Sopot. Yes, her tour of Malbork was great but ALL the time she took answering our other questions was more than worth the cost of the tour.
One of the things that struck both my husband and I is the pride that Polish people have in their country.There is NO trash on the beautiful pristine beaches between Gdansk and Sopot. Everyone is out walking along 11km seaside walk that connects these two cities. While in Gdansk, I poked my husband when I saw a person pickup a candy/food wrapper that some careless person had dropped and put it in a trash bin. LIKE would that have happened about any other place in the World?
On Sunday April 23rd, we were walking back from Wawel Hill. We noticed a long line of people standing along the side of Grozka Street. Everyone had bags in their hands and we could hear clinking as they moved forward in the long line that snaked up to a small square. Hubby and I couldn't figure out WHAT the long line was THEN it dawned on me. IT was EARTH Day!!!
When we returned to the hotel I looked up on the Internet and Krakow had a program where IF you brought a certain number of recyleable items to the temporary recycle station, you got free tickets to upcoming concerts.
While this might not be the best review of places to see and things to do in Poland, I think it is review of WHY you should go to Poland. Needless to say, Hubby and I are already planning to return to Poland when the weather is warmer and not spitting snow as we walked about in cool weather with rain every day. Poland is a special place and one I have the warmest feelings about returning to.Edited: 7:49 pm, May 05, 2012