Monday, August 6, 2018

Smoked sheep cheese? Vodka soup? Four hundred and nine steps? Yes, today held wonderful adventures.


The guys are staying at a separate lodging than the girls, and since I’m a guy, I shall begin the recount from they’re perspective. Our intention was to leave our lodging at 7:50. However that was delayed slightly by a photo shoot with the couple that owns the lodging. It took a bit of corralling to get all the guys together for the photo. After that was accomplished, we struck out in the bus. Our lodgings are only about 10 minutes from the girls’ so we still made it in good time. Breakfast awaited us at the girls’ lodgings in the town of Orzechowy Dworek. It was delicious! A wide selection of sliced meat, cheese, butter, sausages, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers. And bread to create a sandwich.  Coffee and hot tea filled it out nicely.


Around 9:00 we were loaded up on the bus and twenty minutes later saw us on the road. Travel time lasted just over an hour. Our destination? Old town Gdansk. Kudos to the bus driver who did a great job of backing into a very tight parking lot!


We headed off as a group toward St. Mary’s Cathedral inside old town Gdansk. It is a massive building, with a very high ceiling! Three rows of massive pillars. A large organ. It was a sight to behold! We were able to sing three songs inside. That was great fun. The reverb was amazing!  After singing and taking pictures in the main sanctuary area, many of us climbed the steeple. That’s where the 409 steps came in. It was a bit tiresome climbing. For the first 150 steps, we wound up a spiral corridor with very shallow steps. After that it opened up into the larger steeple. The final view from the top was well worth the conquest of the steps. We could see all of Gdansk and much more. The Baltic Sea was easily visible.


After spending time at St. Mary’s, we all split up into six smaller groups. Our group decided to head to a coffee shop first off. That ended up being the decision of another group as well and we had a good time just chilling at that shop. We left there around 12:45 and spent most of the afternoon strolling the streets and souvenir shopping. We had the delightful experience of trying Oscypek, or smoked goat cheese. Hot off the grill, topped with jam. Mmmmm! It was delicious. During the afternoon, we also came across the Vodka soup. There was a drink bar along the street and out front they had a sign reading “Soup of the Day: Vodka”. That got us all wondering and one brave soul decided to investigate. It ended up just being a joke. They didn’t even sell soup! It was just that – Vodka. It gave us a laugh.


Around 14:00 we voted to search out a restaurant for lunch. We chose Pod Bandera. I’m not sure of the exact English translation, but it had something to do with a ship. The meal was delicious! Several in the group ordered fish dishes. There was a chicken pasta dish, and I ordered a pork schnitzel dish. Scrumptious!


One other highlight of old town Gdansk was all the street musicians. There was a drum trio going full blast, a delightful violin duet, a cello and accordion duet, and a xylophone duet. They were all very good!


Groups filtered back through the mob of people on the streets to the bus by 16:45. As a general rule, the pockets had grown emptier and the arms more laden. We took our turn at “touristy”. An hour’s ride in the bus brought us back to Orzechowy Dworek where we had pizza for supper. The evening was spent throwing Frisbee, walking around the pond, playing card games, and just general chilling. It was a very relaxing time. Toward dusk a fire was started and most of the people socialized around it until 22:00 when the guys headed back to our lodgings. We’re back now, ready for some much needed rest. It’s been a grand day!


Written by Andrew Hinds

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