Thursday, May 31, 2012
The main dune is being protected and restored here using gabions, large wire baskets filled with heavy stones.
Using the GPS, we drove directly to our hotel in Gdansk. We use the “Lonely Planet” as our main guide, so I had an address for a hotel and had no trouble finding it and driving in the city was not a problem. After checking in we hopped a bus and headed down to old town to just get the lay of the land. Here are some shots of what we found.
I wanted to particularly find the old crane, built in the mid-15th century it served to move heavy cargos directly onto or off the vessels. The dark part of the structure extends out over the water and has a block and pulley arrangement at the top. It was powered by two large wheels on which people walked like a treadmill. It could hoist loads of up to 2000 kg. (over 2 tons). It suffered considerable damage in 1945, but was carefully rebuilt and it’s the only relic of it’s kind in the world.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Back in the city, we had no problem finding a good seafood dinner as this is quite a seaport for a fishing fleet.
Today we are going to move on to Gdansk.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Tonight we’re on the seashore of the Baltic Sea. We finished our research yesterday with no luck. We had two contacts in Pila, but neither worked out. One was with a Lutheran minister who spoke English. We hoped he would have some old records, but he assured us that they were all destroyed between WWII and the Russian occupation. The Lutherans were not treated well by the Russians and the Church and all the records were destroyed. The new church he now ministers to was built a year ago and has a congregation of about 60 members. We had a very nice hotel called the Pension Park.
It was an old shooting lodge and the grounds have now been turned into a city park. From Pila we headed directly to the Baltic Sea. The countryside getting here reminded us of traveling from Portland to the coast. There were many lakes and the forest was dense like the coast range. We stopped for lunch at a lake shore turnout and found a small motor home from Germany. The couple had traveled from Munich and said they had no trouble finding free camping spots through out Poland. Of course, just like in Oregon, you can’t approach the sea without encountering a little rain.
Karen lives in Bonn, Germany, and we hosted her when she was a student at Reed College in 1989. We have always maintained contact. We visited them in 1997 and they came to Oregon in 2006. When she heard that we were coming to Poland, she worked very hard to insure that we could get together while we were here. She secured an apartment in Berlin and we drove there to meet them. What a wonderful weekend of visiting, site seeing, and eating. We drove the German Autobahn from the border about 90 kilometers west to Berlin. Along the way we stopped for lunch in a rest area. We left our car in a long term parking lot at the Berlin Shonefeld airport and they picked us up there. Our first stop was afternoon dinner at a restaurant near a lake on the east edge of the city.
From there we headed down town to take a boat for sight seeing up the Spree River through the heart of Berlin. We boarded near the “Jimmy Carter Smile” building. This is what the Berliners refer to it as. We passed by many buildings that I can’t remember the name of, but of significance was the Bundestag and Reichstag which are newly built since reunification. Here are some of the others.
Berlin has changed since we were last here. The East German symbol, the TV tower is still prominent on the skyline, but the downtown is now a mix of refurbished old and spectacularly new architectural concepts. The main train station is a prime example.
The apartment we stayed in belongs to Karen’s sister-in-law, Sonia. She leases it out to tourists and business people who are looking for more than a hotel room. We found it very comfortable for 4 people. If you are interested you can make arrangements through www.homelike.de.vu . This website shows the apartment we used. We had the master bedroom and Karen and Guenter used the living room.
Thank you, Karen and Guenter, for all your gracious hosting.