Gdańsk is one of three cities along Poland’s Baltic Coast, that forms what is known as the Tricity. Along with Gdynia and Sopot, the three cities are so close together that you can explore them all in a single day, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
After a quick orientation of the metro system, which was incredibly artistic and thankfully overrode the eerie emptiness of its undeegeound corridors, I arrive at the main station just in time to grab any old ticket out of the vending machine, jump on a train and pray to God my ticket doesn’t get checked.
Gdynia is the furthest away, taking about 40 minutes by train. I figure it’s good to start there and work my way back.
I’ve chosen one thing to do or see in each city, starting with the Emigration Museum in Gdynia, which I know sounds quite boring. And trust me, by the time I made it from the train station all the way down to the shipyards, I was steeling myself for disappointment, imagining that I would be finding a musty little collection of odds and ends unlovingly displayed in a one room tin shed. I even very nearly gave up and turned back.
Turns out I was quite wrong. I was quite amazed at this place stuck all on its lonesome in Gdynia Port. Opened in 2015, the museum charts the many reasons that the Polish population emigrated, the Polish diaspora being considered one of the largest in the world. The Dworzec Morski (Marine Station) in which the museum is housed, was the main gateway for Polish emigration between wars.
Once you get past the 60s styled front entry and spend a good five minutes wondering what the weird silver ‘room-thing’ in the front entrance is, it is actually a really great museum, which I would classify as being among some of the best I’ve been to.
The exhibition started with the beautiful quote below, and continued with a host of rooms moving from era to era.
I thought the section on World War 2 was really well done. In a country where this war had such a massive, widereaching effect, it remains a constant topic of thought, and the Emigration Museum held just the right amount of information and displayed it very well, presenting it in a way that was unique to the other displays I’d seen so far.
I was also impressed by the section on the Siberian Deportees. All in all, the museum had just the right amounts of information to cover the eras of Polish emigration history without being too overwhelming.
This was achieved through their simple but effective display of personal items and stories, interactive screens and an easy, natural flow.
As I was browsing the communism display, checking out the Polish Fiat (the ‘Malut’), a very kindly museum worker came over to start chatting to me. He led me around the exhibition explaining bits and pieces and asking about my family history. He showed me some special points of interest and directed me to the museum’s Family Search database, where he proudly located my Babcia.
I bid him goodbye and headed to the bus stop, not far from the museum.
To get here, jump on bus 119 or 137 from Gdynia Główny! Or you can spend ages walking through the backstreets of Gdynia, all the way wondering how badly I was getting lost, which is what I did.
After a few hours in Gdynia, I jumped back on the train for Sopot, less than 15 minutes away. Sopot is gorgeous (you were right Sharon Pruski, thanks for the tip!).
Exiting the station, Sopot presents a charming face to her visitors. The tourist bureau is clearly identifiable for those that would like guidance on how best to spend their time in Sopot, but really, it’s one of those places where you just seem to follow a natural flow of traffic and end up where you want to be.
If you’ve googled Sopot, you’ll likely see an image of the crooked house (Krzywy Domek).
Krzywy Domek is a commercial building, inspired by the fairytale illustrations of Jan Szancer and a Sopot resident, and is the most photographed building in Sopot. I snapped my obligatory photo and continued down Monte Cassino towards what I guessed would lead me to the pier.
I stopped to but a ticket to walk the pier. It was a little overcast, but that didn’t stop people flocking to the beach! Large seagulls flew over head, and couples strolled atm in arm underneath the elegant white lamposts.
Yes, you have to buy a ticket, but it’s only a couple of bucks and the pier is lovely and huge and must cost a fortune to be maintained, so I feel it’s justified.
Plus, the pier appeared as a pit stop on the Amazing Race Series 23, episode five!
Tickets to walk the pier cost 8zł and can be purchased from the kiosk near the pier.
I wandered around a little longer hoping to find food, but nothing really appealed to my appetite or fast-dwindling budget, so I caught the train back to Gdańsk and spent a little time wandering around the shopping precinct across from the station.
As the sky darkened and the rain drizzled down from the heavens, I found a small restaurant pub that kinda looked like a piano bar, and sat down to order a pint and a plate of gourmet pierogi.
I found myself tiring again and decided on another early night by the TV. Tomorrow I was going to visit the new World War 2 museum and I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.