In June of 2015, I travelled to Poland, to see my beautiful friend, Marta Zalewska.
Since this trip was more than 8 months ago, the details are a little foggy. So I have a map which should help us both as I try to piece together what I did in this beautiful country!
After Marta met me at the airport in Gdansk, we took a few buses to the student housing of her friend. We dropped off my bags and headed out on foot. Down the street was a small shop where we stopped for traditional Polish pierogis. My Polish is a little rusty now so I am having trouble remembering which flavor I had.
After our lunch, we walked around Gdansk for a while then took a trolley and a train to Sopot which is on the Northern coast of Poland off the Baltic Sea. Before we got there, I had no idea there was a beach in Poland. I just never connected the dots that Poland was one of the Balkans. It was cold and rainy which meant the beach was empty but absolutely pristine. We got ice cream and waffles and walked along this massive pier. It got a little rainy and cold so we hoped on a tree and headed back to Gdansk.
When we got back to Gdansk, Marta’s friend Mateusz, whose housing I had put my bags, was out of class and ready for exploring! We basically ate and drank our way around the city. We stopped for a few drinks, got a burger, and stopped for gourmet cupcakes! My Polish was slowly increasing. I was able to say please and thank you for myself, but still had to be a child with Marta ordering for me. In the late evening, we went to a convenience store, and bought some vodka (wodka in Polish!). We drank in Mateusz’s room until Marta’s boyfriend arrived to take us to our next adventure.
Paweł, Marta’s boyfriend, picked us up from the student housing and drove us to Marta’s parents’ house in the country, outside of Grudziądz. It was like midnight or 1 when he picked us up so it was too dark for me to see the scenery as we drove. At one point, no one had spoken in english for at least an hour and Paweł and Marta were in such a deep discussion in Polish and we were just driving through these empty towns that I was absolutely convinced that they were taking me somewhere to murder me. I just sat silently in the backseat, making an escape plan. It wasn’t until we arrived at Marta’s parents house that I experienced relief and explained my worry to Marta. She just laughed at me.
The next morning we woke up and headed out into Grudziądz. We first stopped for lunch and had a popular food, the zapikanka, which is like a chibatta loaf, cut in half, covered in savory cole slaw and ketchup (picture on the right). I also got a shawarma in fear that the zapikanka wasn’t going to be as delicious as it was.
We took a walk to this big tower that had recently been renovated which gave beautiful views of the whole city.
We walked through old Grudziądz which was mostly empty. The old town is built into the original city walls.
After our tour of Grudziądz, we stopped by this lake side camp to say hello to Marta’s mom. It was amazing to see all of this scenery, so different from New Mexico AND Norway
The next day, Marta and I drove drove to her and Pawel’s apartment in Torun. We stopped at a McDonald’s on the way there and I just through it was adorable that the drive-thru was called a McDrive. :3 We also had this beer that tasted like thin, alcoholic honey and it was amazing.
The next day, the three of us got on a train headed for Wrocław. We got snacks for the train and this turned into a Polish lesson. Turns out “Supertata” means “Super Dad” not “Super Tits” like I expected (and hoped).
Once we got to Wrocław and had dropped off our bags at the hostel, we headed out to meet Marta and Pawel’s friends. We met at a bar and the vodka was quickly flowing. Beers turned to shots which turned to bottles.
Once we were drunk enough, we left the bars and bought liquor at a store. Apparently drinking in parks is a thing in Poland so we took those bottles and found some empty benches in the park that was slowly filling up. Turns out the bathrooms in these parks close before the drunks (us) get there. So we had to resort to the camping method in light of the immense drinking.
While I was drunk in this park, I texted this beautiful Viking named Hugo and it was such a great decision. Thank you, drunk Sarah. *self-five*
In the morning, I woke up extremely itchy, attributing it to my close calls with unfamiliar trees and bushes in the park. That day, we ate and drank and adventured and ended up going to a birthday party in this little forest and all I have a picture of is us burning a box. This trip included more outdoor drinking (and peeing) then I could have imagined.
We headed back to Toruń the next day. Pawel had to do some work at a MotoPri competition at the local arena so I bought some tickets for Marta and I. We drank a lot of beer, judged the cuteness of the competitors, and commented on all the older men with very young wives sitting near us in the VIP section.
Turned out that the itchiness I was feeling in Wrocław wasn’t from all the rubbing up against trees and bushes. I had gotten severely bitten by bed bugs in the hostel. I looked like I had leprosy covering my arms, legs, hands, and feet, and Marta and I were trying all the internet solutions to try to dull the itching. Luckily when we returned back toToruń, Marta loaded me up with Polish creams, ointments, and steroids, from her dad who is a doctor.
Once I slathered on some anti-itch cream, Marta and I strolled around Grudziądz. We went to a contemporary art museum where I took these 3 pictures. The first is of a beautiful building across the street from the museum. The second, a multimedia piece which included showing the changing of reflection colors of frozen metal. The third was an interactive piece about communism and propaganda.
Early the next morning, Marta put me on a train to Gdansk. This was probably one of my proudest travel moments because I successful got myself off the train, onto a bus, and to the airport while everything I needed was in Polish! I was happy to return safely to Bergen, and was glad the bedbugs didn’t follow me home; my liver was happy for the break.