The most important day of my journey started with beautiful blue sky. I wandered a bit here and there in the centre of Elbląg strongly surprised how nice the place was. It wasn’t really old town as it was quite destroyed during II WW, but new buildings were constructed the way that gave away the atmosphere of old commercial town which was quite close to Baltic.
Next kilometers were extremely tough. I felt in legs that the sea was closer because wind was getting stronger and stronger. The area was almost tree-less at least along the road, completely flat, with many canals and there was no shelter from the wind. When I answered the phone call I could hardly hear words. It’s Żuławy Wiślane, the lowest part of Poland, reminding a bit the Netherlands.
Seeing a sign “Stegna 5 km” I realized that these are last kilometers before I’d reach the sea with no help of car, train, plane, just using my strong will and muscles. It was really something and it let me conquer the wind and finally I did see Baltic! It was great!
Although it was quite a warm day with temperature about 25 C only very few people were swimming. The apex of courage for majority was to dip their legs up to knees in water. I did the same and was sure why things were that way – water was horribly cold. Baltic unfortunately is not Adratic and although sometimes the water temperature comes up to twenty something there are days when it oscillates between 8-10 degrees only – during summer!
But I told myself I’d swim tomorrow when I had more time, even in that cold water. Now was time to hit the road again towards Gdańsk. The last hurdle on the way (not counting the wind of course) was the Vistula river – as it’s often said “the queen of Polsih rivers”, which I overcame wth little help of a ferry.
I had to admit that when I finally reached old town of Gdańsk I was tired, weary, exhausted, worn-out and sorry but haven’t learned yet more English words to describe my state of that moment. But it wasn’t important because I was in the most fantastic, beautiful old town in whole Poland! Gdańsk is more beautiful than Warsaw, Cracow and Wroclaw combined together, that’s what I’m quite sure of.
You’ve got to admit that in Gdańsk not only old builings are beautiful:
And of course the pictures can’t express it the proper way, but here are some examples of Gdańsk beauty:
The most famous fountain of Naptun, if you haven’t been there you haven’t been to Gadńsk 😉
Żuraw – old granary originated from XV century, another famous symbol of Gdańsk
SS Sołdek was a Polish coal and ore freighter. She was the first ship built in Poland after World War II and the first seagoing ship completed in Poland. Now she is ship museum.
Stone gargoyle – one of many in old cobbled streets
I strolled from street to street till I thought it’s time to book a train ticket for my return way to Rzeszów. I wanted it for the day after tomorrow so I could finish the journey next day reaching on the bike the most northern point of Poland some 50 km from Gdańsk. You can imagine how furious I became when I learned at PKP (Polish Railways) ticket office that it’s not possible, they have no available tickets and I could only buy ticket for the next day or for 3 days later. The second option was impossible because I had to be back at home earlier, so I was forced to shorten the journey. This meant that my secret plan of riding bicycle from the most southern (which I did in May) to most northern point in Poland will never come true… At least not in 2014.
Almost with tears in eyes I bought the ticket for the next day, there was no other way out.
My not the best mood corresponded well with the sight of ruins on the Island of granarys, the only remnant of WWII damage in old town.
The last thing to do that day was to find somewhere to sleep. As I hadn’t arranged any meeting with WS/CS host I decided I’d look for a camping and I found convenient one on the border of Gdańsk and Sopot.
A bit earlier I took one more glance at the Baltic sea, close to Gdańsk pier.