Trip Start Mar 13, 2007
92Trip End Aug 10, 2007
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Through much of its history Gdansk was known as Danzig and was more of a German than a Polish city, an identity reflected in its architecture. The city's prevailing brick Gothic bears much more resemblance to that of other Hanseatic League cities like Hamburg or Lubeck than the Baroque style more common in the rest of Poland. Things changed, though, in 1945 when Gdansk was leveled, national borders were shifted, and a great big ethnic cleansing moved the Germans out and Poles from the eastern parts of Poland that the Soviet Union annexed into what is now northern and western Poland. Fortunately, the historic center of Gdansk was beautifully reconstructed.
There isn't a lot to do on a week night in March in Gdansk other than watch soccer in a pub with the locals, but it this part of the world a "pub" might be in a vaulted brick medieval cellar. I'm not sure if places like that are really all that common or if it's just that I, with my medieval fascination, tend to seek them out. Anyway, tonight it's Poland versus Armenia and I fortunately don't look at all Armenian. One thing I've noticed is that younger Polish men tend to have a very different appearance from those almost everywhere else in Europe.
My roommate at the hostel in Gdansk was a retired British man named Jeff who was in town on a sort of business. He was actually there to inspect the progress on a sea-worthy barge he was having constructed at the shipyard which he and his wife intend to use to travel the waterways of Europe during the summers. It's always nice to meet people who intend to do more than sit home and watch TV in their retirement years.