We headed up to Gdansk from Krakow. It had got positive reviews in the guide books we'd read, and sounded really interesting on account of the city's key part in Poland's not that distant struggle against Soviet imposed communism, another piece of the 20th century Eastern European jigsaw we've gradually been putting together. Also, I really fancied seeing the sea again after an absence of a few weeks, since we left Croatia. Upon arrival it transpired that, although a port, Gdansk isn't actually on the coast, but at least the history lesson bit worked out well. Another multi-hour museum stint, at the "Roads to Freedom" exhibition at the Solidarity Museum, was time fantastically well spent, and it always adds hugely to the experience when you're actually in the place something happened, witnessing the same surroundings, most poignantly on this occasion the famous gates to the Gdansk shipyards, scene of the strikes of the Polish shipworkers, which arguably set off the journey to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the Eastern Bloc. Anyway, I shan't bore anyone with any more history! Well, maybe a little bit in Warsaw, but then we move on to Russia, Mongolia and China, where I think the former and latter spend more time trying to cover up their respective histories, and where we're anticipating all three will be more of a cultural experience anyway.
Gdansk was also a really nice city, incidentally, and more attractive and less industrial than I'd expected. Once again, we departed with a feeling that we could have stayed longer. And I did get to see the sea! A 15km train ride further north took us to Sopot, where we walked for a couple of miles along the wide, white, sandy beach, and in the company of more seagulls than people.
Hostel dorm-mates review, Happy Seven Hostel: definitely a more German orientated city than English language, which was reflected in the number of our German dorm-mates. One of whom, Sebastian, put in a sterling back-tracking effort after generically insulting English girls in the presence of Paula and myself, unaware at that moment of our nationality, which Paula shortly afterwards informed him of when he drunkenly came over to chat. So, many other Germans, four Belgian girls who ate chocolate on bread for breakfast, a Swiss Man Utd supporter, plus token English, Aussies and French.