Gdansk, old and new

Old Town Gdansk (c) 2019 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

Another postcard from my Windstar cruise... Gdansk, Poland was a most interesting place to spend a day. We booked a 5 hour private tour ... and then customized it as soon as we met our guide.

Pro Tip: When you book a private guide, realize that you've bought her time, not the itinerary. The advertised 5 hour tour proposed visits to the Old Town of Gdansk — but also to Sopot and Gdynia. However, I did my own research. Creating a google map of the proposed itinerary, it became clear that visiting Sopot and Glynia would eat up two hours of our time without offering anything that really interested us. I had read compelling reviews, on the other hand, of the Solidarity Centre and the World War 2 Museum, both in Gdansk. So when we first met our guide, we proposed these revisions to our itinerary. As it would mean less driving for her, there was no absolutely no issue making the change.

Old Town Gdansk was perhaps the most charming port on our entire cruise. The photograph above shows the picturesque facades of the town's historic buildings. We walked the streets with our guide, visited some old churches, enjoyed their art, strolled along the waterfront, smelled the aromas of what was cooking in the food stalls, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Museum of the Second World War (c) 2019 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

Our walk took us past the Museum of the Second World War, pictured above. There wasn't time to tour the exhibits, but we did walk into this stunning museum and enjoy its distinctive design. Then, continuing on our way, we came to the Gdansk Shipyard, ground zero of the Solidarity worker strikes, and to the European Solidarity Centre, the library and museum that commemorates the end of Communist rule of Poland.

Solidarity Centre (c) 2019 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

Our guide literally came alive when we entered the Solidarity Centre. She had lived through the history displayed in the museum, and she described those events with deep emotion. It's an amazing thing to walk through a museum, guided by someone intimately familiar with what you're seeing. She told us the story of those amazing years. She spoke of the courageous leadership of Lech Walesa, the Solidarity leader seen above signing the agreement negotiated with the Communist Party. (She is pictured in front of this larger-than-life black-and-white photo). She gave witness to the bold leadership of Pope John Paul II; his courage and charisma gave hope to the people of Poland and was so instrumental to the winning of Polish freedom.

Gdansk, well worth a full day if you find yourself in town!

copyright (c) 2019 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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