Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Logbook: Giddy in Gdynia

Giddygdynia1Captain Adam and his delightful daughter Mary picked me up Sunday morning for a day trip to Malbork to its visit the historic castle fortress complex. The weather was perfect and we had a nice hour-long drive through the lovely Polish countryside, while Mary practiced her already very good English with me. I have been informed -- and found -- that practically every Pole under thirty speaks at least some English, and many of them speak it more or less fluently. (A lucky break for me, because I have no Polish and am finding it very difficult to learn even a little of it!) The castle is remarkable, not only in its size and history, but also because it was severely damaged during WWII and has been extensively rebuilt in entirely authentic form. We had a very enjoyable and informative visit during which Captain Adam painstakingly translated the Polish guide's presentation for me. On the way back we stopped in Gdansk for a brief walk through the old town and a late lunch at Mary's favorite restaurant: KFC! It was a super day trip for me, especially because of the opportunity it gave me to spend time with Captain Adam and Mary. Back in Gdynia, I spent some time wandering around town, continuing my orientation of what's where and picking up some supplies before having a nice dinner of my favorite Polish soup then calling it a night.

The weather on Monday was very bad, so I spent most of the day inside and online, both catching up with the last of my back log of communications and beginning to research possibilities for the next phase of The Voyage going forward. Tuesday's weather was also pretty bad, so I did more research -- which I'll write about soon -- and stepped out during breaks in the rain to do some chores, gather train and travel information, have lunch, etc. Even in bad weather, Gdynia is a great place for me to be. I am very comfortable here, partly because the place I'm staying is so perfect -- small, quiet, friendly and inexpensive with free hi-speed wi-fi! -- but also because the city has a lot to offer, the people are very nice and, I have to admit, many of the Polish women are downright beautiful. I plan to stay here for at least another week while I enjoy the town, finish my recovery from the pace of the past few months and make my arrangements going forward.

Giddygdynia2After two days of miserable weather, Wednesday's stunning blue skies and delightfully warm temperature we like something from another world. Fully energized to explore, I headed out right after breakfast and walked around the entire city for about eight hours. After a comprehensive walk around the downtown area -- the city itself isn't really very big -- I headed down to the pier to check out the maritime museum then continued out for a walk along the shore. The beauty of Gdynia's beach surprised me -- I wouldn't have expected to find such a nice sandy beach on the shore of the Baltic Sea -- and it was fun to watch the locals enjoy what may be one of the last really nice weather days before winter sets in. I stopped at one of the charming seaside cafes for lunch and caught this photo of a woman making the most of the sun. Like most people who live in high latitudes, you take what you can get before winter's dim days and long dark nights arrive. After walking several miles down the shore walk, I climbed up the bluffs through residential areas and back into the city. I had dinner in a Sports Bar of all places, and had a blast cheering for the "home team" -- I still don't know who they are -- having snippets of conversation with excited young fans and drinking a few local beers. I may not understand much of the local language, but I know "Gooooooaaaaallll!!!" when I hear it! It was a lot of fun, and if I was "comfortable" here before, I am downright "giddy in Gdynia" now.

Today has been overcast and blustery, the variability of the weather being a sure sign that winter is on its way. I spent most of the day doing more research for moving forward -- it's actually pretty complicated, and I promise to fill you in as soon as I have a handle on it -- plus doing a few chores like getting a haircut which I will, of course, document and share for your enjoyment "shortly." All in all the past week has been about one-third "recovery", one-third "research" and one-third "exploration." Maybe not the most exciting week from an outside perspective, but one that I needed to be just that way and one that I couldn't be happier about. Stay tuned for what I expect will be some pretty big news and plans, coming your way soon from The Voyage of Macgellan!


Sarah Hadland said...

Polar Star update
(but you`re probably more upto date than I am- does Captain Adam have any news/gossip. Who are the `key crew`/ hotel staff for antartica- do you know.
Anyway- found a web cam pic of her (3/11/07) in Ushuaia - reassuring to actually SEE her afloat (and very shiny/new paint job- there wasn`t much else to do!)
Have a great time wherever you may be going next. I`m off to Ecuador for a month then back on Polar Star for the whole UK tour and upto Svalbard.

Macgellan said...

Thanks for the webcam link! It is nice to see our beloved ship ready for action again! I don't know who's on board... It was uncertain the last time I talked to the Captain due to all the schedule disruption. Plus it will be changing during the season. Good luck in Ecuador... I hope you have a better overall experience than I did. Best, M