Thursday, May 31, 2012


It was only a short drive along the north coast into Gdansk today.008 This is what showed on our GPS as we drove along route 215 and into Wladyslawowo.  The water looked so close that I figured we should be able to walk over and take one last look at the Baltic Sea.009  Sure enough, a turnout appeared and we parked and after a short walk, we were at the shore.  012
The main dune is being protected and restored here using gabions, large wire baskets filled with heavy stones.010
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.
019  020
021  025
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.  036 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.  033 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


The most unusual feature of the national park are the shifting dunes.012  It’s actually a vast ridge of sand 40 meters high and it continually moves eastward.  Rommel’s Afrika Korps trained in this desert during WWII.011  We’re staying in a little sea coast city of Leba.  To get to the dunes, we took a boat from the park entrance to the dunes trail head.002 From the trail head we had to hike 2 kilometers, about 1.2 miles, to get to the base of the dunes.  Then it was a matter of climbing to the soft sand to the top.  (We’re not gaining any weight on this trip.)  The dunes keep progressing and as they move they kill the trees.019            018 
015            017
Back in the city, we had no problem finding a good seafood dinner as this is quite a seaport for a fishing fleet.  022
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.010    005 

It was an old shooting lodge and the grounds have now been turned into a city park.012  From Pila we headed directly to the Baltic Sea.  The countryside getting here reminded us of traveling from Portland to the coast.  020  There were many lakes and the forest was dense like the coast range.  017019   016  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.  022  Of course, just like in Oregon, you can’t approach the sea without encountering a little rain.

Kolobrzeg is a city about like Seaside or Newport, Oregon.  Our hotel here is very nice and the promenade along the sea makes a wonderful walk. 031           040

034   We had a close encounter with a swan.037  036032  Dinner tonight was cod on snap peas with mashed potatoes blended with horseradish.  It was wonderful.  045


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.  066 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.068  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. 

071  077  From there we headed down town to take a boat for sight seeing up the Spree River through the heart of Berlin.083  We boarded near the “Jimmy Carter Smile” building.  This is what the Berliners refer to it as.  087  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.  093 094  Here are some of the others.  095             097

102             111

103Berlin has changed since we were last here.  080  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.134     133  The main train station is a prime example.135 

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 .  This website shows the apartment we used.  We had the master bedroom and Karen and Guenter used the living room.113

115  Here’s the view from the balcony.  148  Sunday we met with Karen’s brother and his family.  We had Thai food and enjoyed meeting the boys.  127           125

Karen had brought presents for her nephews.  As you can see, legos are loved by boys all over the world.  119120

Football practice starts early here.  130  This weekend was a special highlight of our trip.145 

Thank you, Karen and Guenter, for all your gracious hosting.