Judix2 travels to USOpen, Estonia & Poland travel blog

Mottled Eggs

Hanging Ships

'Moosehead' Wooden Soldier

Gold House

St. Mary's Astronomical Clock

Gdansk Shipyard Gate 2

Protest March??

Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers

Pirate Ship Sailing Away

Mariacka Street

After going thru all of our literature on Gdansk last night, we realized that we had missed some things so we are going to revisit some of the places we saw yesterday. But not until we had breakfast at the same restaurant where we ate last night where Judi C had mottled eggs (what we would call poached eggs) with shimp and avocado. She was more adventurous than I. I just had scrambled eggs and a baguette. Our first stop was Church of St. Mary, a must-see per Rick Steves. However there was a service going on so we headed on to our next stop, the Artus Court, a grand meeting hall for various guilds established in the 1400's and home to an impressive tile stove with 520 decorated tiles, beautiful woodwork, several large model sailing ships hanging from the ceiling, and some very interesting wooden figures (see the pictures). We went back to the Church of St. Mary and the service was finished. We couldn't figure out what it was but there were lots of young people in what looked like Navy uniforms and lots of people holding sunflowers. This church is the largest medieval brick-built church in Europe and is supposed to be able to hold 25,000 people (standing room only). Building started in 1343, it took 150 years to complete, and was destroyed in 1945. It was rebuilt after WWII and is currently undergoing what looks like a massive restoration. Our tour book listed 6 uniuqe items to see and, as hard as we looked, we could only find 4. We did find a memorial to Pope John II, who is idolized by the Polish people and we are going to see lot more. We also could have climbed the 408 steps to the top of the tower for a sweeping view of the city, but we didn't. Our next stop was the Uphagen House, but it was closed for 15 minutes. So we took a break at a cafe across the street--our first time sitting outside since today was the warmest since we've been in Europe--for drinks and some french fries. Judi C. finally tried a beer and she thought it was really good. It also was a really big glass. As we watched, 2 big tour groups lined up at the House waiting for it to open, so we decided to move on and go to the Gdansk Shipyard. We wanted to see the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers and the site of the 1980 strike that eventually led to Polish Independence and, they believe, culminated in the fall of the Berlin Wall. At Gate 2 into the shipyard there were lots of flowers and some banners saying Solidarnosc. We couldn't find out anything but we think it was some sort of anniversary celebration since it was in August that the strike started and later in September that the August Agreement was signed that legalized the Solidarity union that eventually grew to 10 million members. We tried again to get into St. Bridget's Church known for its support of the Solidarity movement where its priest was very vocal and was murdered by the Communist secret police. We wanted to see the amber altar he started but never finished. But this time there was a wedding going on and we couldn't get in. Yesterday we tried but they were having mass. By now we were both pretty tired (walking over cobblestones for the last week takes a toll) and headed back to our apartment for a rest until 4:45. That would give us enough time to see the 5 remaining things we wanted to see, have dinner, and get back in time to watch the US Open Women's Finals. Somehow we got off by an hour, and by the time we realized it, it was 5:15. Both the Old Town Hall and the Uphagen House were closed by the time we got there but we did find the Gold House and realized that we had seen the Royal Chapel earlier. So that left Mariaka Street where we planned to have dinner. We went out the Green Gate onto the riverfront embankment to get there and found so many amber jewelry stores and a massive pirate boat on the dock farther down. By the time we got close enough to take a picture after perusing all the jewelry, it was sailing away. We weren't having much luck with our last few hours in Gdansk. We did stumble on to two other things we had wanted to see--the 5 little ladies (mysterious ancient sculptures) that if you touch you'll come back to Gdansk (which we forgot to do) and The Crane, a monstrous 15th-century crane used for loading ships, picking up small crafts for repairs, and uprighting masts--beginning Gdank's shipbuilding tradition. The crane mechanism was operated by several guys scrambling around in a giant hamster wheel on top. When we got to Mariaka street, we were surprised to find nothing buy amber shops, one after the other as far as the eye could see. A very picturesque street but no restaurants tht we could see. So we ended up back on the ulica Dluga, the main street, and had an authentic Polish meal of peirogi (meat dumplings) and golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls). JB

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