Our first trip outside of Italy...Poland!
It has been a while since I have written anything and the reason is that I have been collecting so much material! So hang in there, this is going to be a long (but awesome) one.
A week ago, Tim and I left Naples International airport and flew to Gdansk, Poland. I'll start by saying Naples airport is impressively nice! It is small but high-tech and has super comfy seats, okay they are actually couches, for you to wait for your flight. Even the bathroom was picture-worthy. Yes, I took a picture of the faucets and this neat electronic cleanliness rater on the wall. I'm not ashamed. The best part is, we can park on base for free and walk a short way to the airport. You can't beat it.
We splurged and flew Lufthansa this time because Tim was going to Poland for work and I was just tagging along. Overall, it was a fantastic experience. The crew was super friendly and we were provided sandwiches on each flight (even though they were each only 1.5 hours to our connection in Munich, Germany) and...wait for it...free beer and wine! Europe is fabulous.
One thing we learned is that European standards for "carry-on baggage" are much, much smaller than American standards. Our bags were the typical size you buy in the United States and were not overpacked by any means. While they met the weight requirement for free carry-ons, they did not fit in their size check bin. But, they graciously checked them for free. For our next trip, we are flying a budget airline so I am anxious to see how that goes!
Okay, now I am getting to the part about Poland! Poland is amazing! We flew into Gdansk airport and drove two hours to Slupsk. Side note: Polish is one of the hardest languages to learn and I still have no idea how to pronounce "Gdansk". The first thing we noticed was how clean Poland was. I love love love Italy, but Naples has a huge trash problem. It was a breath of fresh air, literally, to see nature without litter covering the streets. We pulled over every few minutes to sneak photos of the scenery. Picture: rolling green hills, a cotton candy sunset, and moss covered forests.
The nexy day Tim had to go to work so I was left to plan my day by myself. I am an avid traveler, but I have never adventured out solo and I was a little hesitant to go off on my own in a city I knew nothing about and couldn't speak a lick of the language. I got myself the free breakfast from the hotel restaurant (which was amazing) and then proceeded to get ready as leisurely as possible a.k.a delaying...just in case I changed my mind.
Eventually the coffee kicked in, and I gained the confidence to take a taxi to the center of the city. Coffee can do magical things, am I right? At the recommendation of the hotel concierge, I started my exploration at the tourist information center. I was pretty surprised this even existed because Slupsk is a very small town. I was given a map of 16 must-see places in Slupsk and they were all within a few blocks radius. Although small, it is a cute little town with lots of character. After I had visited the first few locations, I decided to take a shopping detour. Shopping is always a good idea. I lucked out like crazy because I found a store with Polish hand painted pottery and, gasp, they had a sale section. I used my finely-tuned skill of shopping sales to snag a large canister, a tea kettle, and a cake stand at 40% off. Oh, and did I mention how inexpensive Poland is? Altogether, I spent about $30 total. Needless to say, it was time to call a taxi to take me back to the hotel and admire my new goodies. When Tim got back from work, I showed him around downtown, we bought some Polish bison grass Vodka (okay maybe 4 bottles), and we went to dinner at a local US Navy favorite spot. It was the most adorable restaurant and ended up being our most expensive meal out of our four days in Poland-at a whopping $33. This included wine and beer, two bowls of soup, two entrees, and a dessert. And the food was divine. Seriously, Poland is way underrated.
When Tim’s work was done, we headed back towards Gdansk for the last few days. We made a pit stop in Sopot to walk the longest wooden pier in Europe. Stretching 511.5 meters over the Baltic Sea, this pier was first opened in 1827 and is still a very popular place to relax. Even on the brisk March day we visited, the seats were filled with people sunbathing and babies napping in their buggies. It is believed to have a natural health benefit to walk the pier because the level of iodine molecules in the air is twice as much as on land. We stopped to have lunch at a posh little restaurant at the end of the pier and enjoyed hot bowls of tomato soup and cheesy garlic toasts. I can imagine how wonderful it would be to sit outside in the summer and dig into an ice cream sundae or sip a cool tropical drink. Maybe next time!
In Gdansk, we had our first Airbnb experience and it was perfection. (See below for a link to get you some money off for your first stay!) We rented a small but modern private studio apartment just blocks away from the riverfront as well as the popular Dluga street. I am pretty much obsessed with Gdansk. The architecture is full of countless detail and rich colors. Dluga street is bustling with smiling people walking along the cobblestone streets, sipping hot mulled wine, shopping for amber, and devouring pierogis. My kind of place! We seriously did not once have a bad meal. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Lastly, we took a side trip about an hour away to Malbork Castle in Malbork, Poland. This castle is the largest brick castle in the world. It was once a busy place in the Medieval times, but was tragically destroyed during World War II. It has taken many years to restore, but was finally opened completely last year. Lucky us!
In conclusion, we loved Poland and can’t wait to visit again!
Let me know if you are interested in the info for the Airbnb we used in Gdansk. I highly recommend it.
^Your link to get credit for your first stay!
My next post will detail our disastrous, but successful move in day to our new home in Italy. You won’t want to miss that.
Ciao Bella xoxo,