A Travellerspoint blog

Sopron.

Hungry.

sunny

Folk art shop on Fo Ter - Sopron

Folk art shop on Fo Ter - Sopron

Getting to Sopron.

We got to Sopron by train from Vienna as the train is operated by Austrian Railways we could get there on an einfach raus ticket which cost 32 Euros for up to 5 people. The journey took an hour and 10 minutes from Wein Meidling Station. Transport on the schnellbahn is included in the ticket if you are starting from another station.

Sopron Station

Sopron Station

Sopron is a very relaxed town with a very pretty old town. We mainly enjoyed wandering aimlessly around the old town streets with their lovely buildings and sitting enjoying the sun in some of Sopron's lovely old squares. We also had a very pleasant goulash soup meal with Soproni beer. Buying food and drink in the restaurants and supermarkets in Sopron was much cheaper than in Vienna. The currency is the forint, but some restaurants accept Euro. There were lots of money changers in Sopron.

The Old Town.

Fo Ter is the main part of the old town, but there are many lovely streets leading off it, such as Saint George's Street. The streets are lined with colourful old buildings and often lead to lovely wide open squares. There are several fountains, churches and a synagogue.

Beautiful building, Sopron. - Sopron

Beautiful building, Sopron. - Sopron

Sleepy courtyard, Sopron. - Sopron

Sleepy courtyard, Sopron. - Sopron

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

The Old Town

Fo Ter Square.

Fo Ter Square is the heart of Sopron's old town. The fire tower (Fo Ter) which gives the square its name is currently undergoing renovation so is surrounded in scaffolding. The square also contains several lovely buildings; some of which are museums. There is also a holy trinity statue and Goat Church. Goat Church was supposedly funded by a goatherd whose goats uncovered buried treasure. We did not go inside the church; I think it is now a museum.There were lots of restaurants, cafes and bars. The town hall was also on this square. A very pleasant spot for a meal or a seat in the sun.

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

Fo Ter Square

St Ursula's Square.

St Ursula's Square in the old town is a wide open space. It contains the lovely Church and Convent of Saint Ursula and a statue of her, too. At one time this square was the site of the salt market of Sopron.

St Ursula's Square

St Ursula's Square

Roman Remains.

Near Fo Ter you can see some excavated Roman remains. They are of several buildings and streets that were part of Sopron's Roman forum. You can look down over the site and there are several notice boards around indicating what you are looking at. Quite interesting and worth a look. Near Fo Ter.

Roman Remains

Roman Remains

Roman Remains

Roman Remains

Near Fo Ter there is another interesting square with some old buildings and interesting monuments. The old Golden Lion Pharmacy is across the road from here. This is worth passing by for a quick look if you are in the area.

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Near Fo Ter

Szechenyi Ter.

This square is between the railway station and the old town. It contains a park, as well as a church and a statue of Count Istvan Szechenyi. It is quite a pretty square and worth a look if you are ever in Sopron.

Szechenyi Ter

Szechenyi Ter

Liszt.

Near the old town there is a Liszt Street with a plaque and bust of Listz. Stop and have a look if you are in town. The bust is outside the conert hall. I am not entirely sure of Listz' connection with Sopron.

Liszt

Liszt

Shops.

This lovely shopfront appealed to me as we we were wandering around. Baskets just look attractive when they are all grouped together or when they are hanging up around windows or doors. Sometimes it is not the big sights, but the little ones that make good photos.

Shop Front

Shop Front

Restaurants.

We had lunch in a restaurant near Goat Church on Fo Ter Square. The restaurant iwas located in a lovely old cellar. The bar part had huge barrels as tables. My husband had soup and Schmalzbrot ­ bread and dripping. In this restaurant it was covered with chopped onion and sprinkled with paprika. I had delicious goulash soup and we both had bottles of the excellent Soproni beer.

My husband enjoying his lunch. - Sopron

My husband enjoying his lunch. - Sopron

Posted by irenevt 06:32 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Cheb

storm

Saint Batholomew Church.

Saint Batholomew Church.

Cheb.

We travelled from Weisau in Bavaria to Cheb for the day. The weather was most definitely not on our side. Our morning was interrupted by frequent heavy downpours and by the afternoon we were stuck in a constant deluge that was flooding everything in sight. Despite the weather, we were both really impressed with Cheb. For some reason we had not been expecting all that much from Cheb but we actually really, really liked it. It has a large public square, churches, a castle, museums, a river. The view from St Nicholas Church was wonderful. When we had looked at Cheb we jumped on a train to nearby Františkovy Lansky, a spa town. That was lovely but our visit there coincided with the worst of the weather. When we were leaving by train we had to wade across the railway platforms to board the train. Cheb is a city in the Czech Republic, with about 33,000 inhabitants. It is on the River Ohre. It used to be part of Germany and was once called Eger.

Saint Batholomew Church.

Saint Batholomew Church.

Cheb main square.

Cheb main square used to be its market place. Now it houses the town hall, the tourist office, a fountain, a museum and a group of eleven houses known as Špalícek. These houses are located very close together with very narrow streets dividing them. They date from the thirteenth century. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe frequently visited the Green House which is one of the houses in Špalícek.

Peter in Cheb's main square. - Cheb

Peter in Cheb's main square. - Cheb

Town Hall. - Cheb

Town Hall. - Cheb

Narrow street in Špalícek. - Cheb

Narrow street in Špalícek. - Cheb

Špalícek. - Cheb

Špalícek. - Cheb

Špalícek. - Cheb

Špalícek. - Cheb

Museum behind Špalícek. - Cheb

Museum behind Špalícek. - Cheb

St Nicholas's Church.

After we had visited the market square, we walked to the lovely Church of Saint Nicholas. We could see its spires from the market square. The Church of St. Nicholas was built in the thirteenth century. Throughout its eventful history it has been damaged by fire in 1742 and then rebuilt by architect Balthasar Neumann. The top of its steeples were destroyed during World War II and restored in 2008. We had look inside the church. It was well worth seeing. I then paid a euro to climb up the tower for a view over the town.

Saint Nicholas Church. - Cheb

Saint Nicholas Church. - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Inside the church - Cheb

Views from the church tower.

After looking at the inside of Saint Nicholas Church I paid one Euro to climb up its tower. There were fantastic views over the old and newer parts of Cheb from the top. This was my favourite part of our visit to Cheb.

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

Views from the church tower. - Cheb

The River Ohre.

The River Ohre flows through the centre of Cheb. It is quite a pretty river. I especially liked the area with the covered wooden bridge. It was possible to take pictures from the bridge including the boxes of geraniums that lined it.

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

The River Ohre - Cheb

Cheb Castle.

We were really running out of time when we got to Cheb Castle plus the rain was just starting to pour down once more so we did not pay to go inside. We just took photos from the outside. Cheb Castle was built in the twelfth century, and is now mostly in ruins. Its main attractions are the Chapel of St Erhard and Ursula and its Black Tower.

img=https://photos.travellerspoint.com/871317/large_7685677-Cheb_Castle.jpg caption=Cheb Castle.]

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Cheb Castle.

Fountains of Cheb.

As we wandered around Cheb we came across several interesting fountains. The first just off the main square was of a piper. On the main square there was a fountain of the Knight Roland. These are found all over Germany. Also on the main square we found the savage man fountain and then we found a fourth fountain on our way to Cheb Castle.

Savage man fountain. - Cheb

Savage man fountain. - Cheb

Fountain on route to castle. - Cheb

Fountain on route to castle. - Cheb

The piper Roland. - Cheb

The piper Roland. - Cheb

The Knight Roland fountain. - Cheb

The Knight Roland fountain. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne.

After we had wandered around Cheb we went to Frantskovy Lazne a nearby spa town. The springs in Frantiskovy Lazne were known from the fifteenth century. This is an attractive place with lots of lovely buildings, statues, fountains and colonades. Unfortunately it poured down for our entire visit which put a bit of a dampner on the day.

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Frantiskovy Lazne. - Cheb

Posted by irenevt 03:43 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (2)

Znojmo

Czech Republic.

sunny

View over Znojmo. - Znojmo

View over Znojmo. - Znojmo

Daytrip to Znojmo.

Znojmo is a wonderfully picturesque town in the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic. It is not far from the Austrian border. Znojmo has lovely churches, a castle, town squares and fountains. It is set on a hillside sloping down to the Dyje River.

I did research Znojmo before our trip, honest, but for some reason I was convinced the Czech Republic used the Euro. I was sadly wrong; they still use the Czech crown. We were there on a Saturday afternoon. All banks and money changers (of which there were not many) were shut. Oh dear. Don't know if any restaurants would have accepted Euros. We just did not spend anything. Shame there were great looking restaurants. Znojmo was a lovely sleepy town with great view points with views towards churches, the castle and rotunda and the Dyje River

Wolf Tower And City Walls.

When we walked into the centre of the old town from the train station the first sight we came to was Wolf Tower and a stretch of city walls. It is worth having a quick look around this area if you are in Znojmo.

Wolf Tower And City Walls.

Wolf Tower And City Walls.

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda.

We could not go in to either building as we had no Czech money. There is an entrance way to the castle next to the brewery. You will go into a little building with tourist info. No need to pay here, pass through and go down the stairs. There are great views, a cafe, birds of prey and the kasse to buy tickets for the castle and rotunda. We only saw the castle from the outside not very castle like, more like a big house and under renovation. The rotunda is quite cute from the outside and supposedly has great frescoes inside. From this area there were great views over the river and towards Saint Nicholas's Church and Saint Wenceslas's Chapel.

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda

Znojmo's Castle And St Catherine's Rotunda

Main Square

Near Wolf's Tower there is a big open square containing a church, sometimes if you are there on the right day a market, a fountain, a plague column and some restaurants. You can see the town hall tower in the distance from here.

Main Square

Main Square

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel.

Saint Nicholas's Church dates back to around 1100. St Nicholas is the patron saint of merchants. It was free to enter the church. It was quiet and peaceful inside. St Wenceslas's Chapel had an exhibition inside and a viewpoint outside.

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel

St Nicholas's Church And St Wenceslas's Chapel

Walk Down To The River.

There is a lovely walk from the churches down to the river past vineyards and crosses. There are good views from this area. Plus it is just an interesting and attractive area to have a stroll in. If you visit Znojmo, why not take a look?

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Walk Down To The River.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Znojmo's old town is wonderful just to wander aimlessly around in. You will wander through many lovely colourful streets. You will walk past cafes, fountains, statues and several very lovely old churches.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Wander Aimlessly Round The Old Town.

Lovely inn sign. - Znojmo

Lovely inn sign. - Znojmo

Lovely painted building. - Znojmo

Lovely painted building. - Znojmo

Hostan Beer

Hostan Beer

Getting to Znojmo.

We got to Znojmo by train from Vienna. We paid 16 Euros per person for a return ticket (you must return within four days on this ticket). We boarded the train at Wien Mitte Station, but the train started from Wien Meidling Station. The journey took 1 hour 33 minutes from Wien Mitte Station. It was comfortable and the train was fairly empty and very clean.

Train To Znojmo

Train To Znojmo

Posted by irenevt 22:42 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Bratislava.

Capital of Slovakia.

overcast

My husband with the papparazi statue - Bratislava

My husband with the papparazi statue - Bratislava

Bratislava.

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. It has a population of about 430,000 and is situated on the Danube River. It has quite a pretty old town with a castle, churches and squares.

Our Day.

Despite being July, the weather was freezing when we visited,15 degrees, windy and raining. However, we did not let that spoil the day. We took tram 13 from the train station to the old town. The ticket from Vienna includes transport in Bratislava for the day. Make sure you do have a valid ticket as there are many ticket inspectors around. With limited time we concentrated on the beautiful old town and the castle. There was a lovely feel to Bratislava despite the temperature. One of the things tourists like doing in the old town is posing with the quirky bronze statues which are dotted around the place.

The old town from St Michael - Bratislava

The old town from St Michael - Bratislava

Main Square.

The main square of the old town is scenic. Here there are some lovely old buildings including the old town hall. There is also a pretty fountain and two of the quirky bronze statues a Napoleonic soldier and a sentry.

The main town square - Bratislava

The main town square - Bratislava

The main town square - Bratislava

The main town square - Bratislava

Bratislava Castle.

Bratislava Castle is perched on a hill just outside the old town. It is a pretty white building with a museum inside. We did not visit the museum. I think it was closed when we visited. The castle has quite nice gardens but the main reason to visit is for the lovely views over the Danube and the old town.

Bratislava Castle - Bratislava

Bratislava Castle - Bratislava

View of the castle from the old town - Bratislava

View of the castle from the old town - Bratislava

View towards St Martin - Bratislava

View towards St Martin - Bratislava

View over old town - Bratislava

View over old town - Bratislava

View towards Novy Most Bridge over the Danube - Bratislava

View towards Novy Most Bridge over the Danube - Bratislava

Statues.

A fun thing to do in Bratislava is to go and look for all of the quirky bronze statues dotted around the town. We found the ones listed below.

Sentry Statue.

The quirky sentry statue is on the main square near the old town hall. He is one of Bratislava's many very photogenic statues. We made it our business to find as many of these as we possibly could. I think they are quite a fun idea and well worth a look.

Sentry Statue

Sentry Statue

Napoleonic Soldier Statue.

The Napoleonic soldier statue is also on the main square generally surrounded by tourists. I do not entirely know his significance to Bratislava but he takes a good photograph and is quite good fun to pose next to.

Napoleonic Soldier

Napoleonic Soldier

Schoner Naci Statue.

The Schoner Naci statue is on a lane just off the main square. It is quite a nice statue to photograph or pose next to. I would never do so if Bratislava were more touristy and you had to queue up for such a thing, but at least when we visited it was not.

Schoner Naci

Schoner Naci

Cumil Statue.

Just along the road from Schoner Naci is Cumil or Rubberneck peering out of the ground from a manhole. There is a warning sign near him to stop cars running over him. It is quite a unique idea. I have never seen a statue like this before. He is located at the junction of Laurinská and Panská streets.

Cumil Statue

Cumil Statue

Cumil Statue

Cumil Statue

Papparazi.

If you are standing facing Cumil go left and walk along the street until you find the papparazi statue. He peers at you down the lens of his huge camera, so make sure you are up to no good when you walk in front of him.

Papparazi

Papparazi

Post box.

This skateboarding girls post box is on the shopping street outside the Crown Plaza Hotel.

Post box

Post box

Train To Bratislava From Vienna.

We visited Bratislava on a day trip from Vienna. To get there we travelled on the U bahn to Praterstern then changed to the S-bahn to the Sudbahnhof. We exited the station, went left, crossed the road and entered the Sudbahnhof We bought tickets from the red ticket machines for 14 Euros return. Trains left at 20 past the hour and took 1 hour 10 minutes to Bratislava making it an easy day trip

Posted by irenevt 18:57 Archived in Slovakia Comments (0)

Poland.

A Year in Poland.

Glorious Polish Autumn, Lebork. - Poland

Glorious Polish Autumn, Lebork. - Poland

Poland.

In 1994 we left our jobs in North Cyprus to work in Poland for a year. We lived in a small town in Northern Poland called Lebork. This is not a touristy place which was good as we were not ripped off in local restaurants or bars and we got a sense of what living in Poland was actually like. Our teaching job was quite easy with reasonably well-motivated students, a four day working week for me, and a three day working week for my husband, plus every other day seemed to be a saints day holiday. However, our pay was appallingly low and our bosses started to mess us around. Although we found Poland beautiful, we did not complete the year. We walked out of our jobs in January rather than working until June. This was a shame because we were enjoying exploring Poland and had hoped to experience it in all seasons. Oh well, at least we managed autumn and winter.

As teachers we were apply to get a special card which enabled us to travel all over Poland by train for half price. We made good use of this and visited some of the towns on the Baltic coast, Leba, Kartuzy, Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot, Slupsk, Torun, Malborg, Hel, Elblag, Warsaw, Krakow. One of the things I liked about Poland was the mentality of the people. I think they had suffered a great deal during the wars and during Communism and, though life may have improved, they still suffer. This makes them empathize with others. In Lebork I watched a destitute, homeless woman gaze hungrily into the window of a bakery and the woman inside come out and hand her a large cake free of charge. In Gydinia I sat in a bar where a filthy, ragged, homeless man sat nursing an empty coke glass hoping he would not be ordered back outside into the cold when suddenly a woman customer he did not even know handed him a meal she had ordered and paid for. At such times I was moved by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the people here; something I have rarely come across in other places. I think it derives from a past with shared hardships and a mutual knowledge of what it is like to go without. Another great thing about Poland is it is so underrated. Everywhere we went our guide book told us was bleak, gray, soviet, depressing and we'd get there and discover it was colourful, lively and beautifully restored. Expectations zero; reality wonderful.

Lebork.

We lived and worked in Lebork from September 1994 to January 1995. Lebork, pronounced Lemborg, is a town in Pomerania, Northern Poland. It is about halfway between Slupsk and Gdansk. Lebork, then called Lebno, was part of Poland, then it was occupied by the Teutonic Knights and became Lauenburg and was part of Prussia. It was handed back to Poland along with other areas of Prussia after World War I. Lebork has a town square, the 14th century Gothic church of St James, a castle built by the Teutonic knights, the Leba and Okalica rivers, a market, several restaurants and bars. It is surrounded by forest and we enjoyed walking here in autumn and viewing the glorious autumn colours. There were also pleasant walks by the river. There were some old city towers remaining, too and one had been converted into a restaurant. I tried steak Tartar here for the first time -yeuk! I could not manage to eat the raw beef. During World War II, Lauenburg was the location of the Nazi concentration camp Lauenburg. This was a subcamp of the Stutthof concentration camp. On 10th March 1945 Lauenburg was taken over by the Soviet Red Army. Most of Lebork's old town was destroyed later in a fire, however the Gothic Church of St. James and the castle survived.

Lebork

Lebork

Lebork

Lebork

Lebork

Lebork

Lebork

Lebork

Lebork

Lebork

Slupsk.

Slupsk is pronounced Swupsk. There should be a line going through my letter 'l' which makes it a 'w' sound in Polish. We visited Slupsk just once. Like Lebork it was once part of Prussia and is now part of Pomerania. Slupsk is located near the Baltic Sea on the Slupia River. It has an attractive town hall, churches, a park. It is the gateway to some of the resort towns on the Baltic coast. Slupsk is the location for a Polish Piano Festival and a Jazz Festival.

Slupsk

Slupsk

Slupsk

Slupsk

Darlowo and the Baltic Beaches.

On our first weekend in Poland the two English teachers who lived next door to us took us in their car to see some of the towns on the Baltic coast. We went to Ustka and Darlowo. The Baltic Beaches are wonderful long stretches of silver white sand. At Ustka as we explored the beach and pier, we were buffeted by extremely bracing Baltic winds causing us to fasten up our jackets tightly. We were then very amused to see Polish people in swimming costumes sunbathing happily under these conditions. Darlowo is a pretty historical town with a town hall on its main square and the Church of St Mary nestled behind the town hall. Darlowo also has a castle which was once the home of the Dukes of Pomerania. On Darlowo's main street we watched a boy skateboarding using puppy power.

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Darlowo And The Baltic Beaches

Town Of Leba.

Leba is pronounced Weba. It is another word that should have a stroke through the L making it a W. Leba was one of our favourite places in Poland and we went here a lot. Leba is a town on the Baltic coast; the River Leba flows through it. Leba has a beautiful long silver sand beach. On the beach you can see the historic Neptun Hotel. This hotel dates from 1907. Someone told me this was once Goebbel's summerhouse, but I'm not sure if this is true. At one point this hotel was apparently a casino. Filming for the movie "Effi" based on the novel "Effi Briest" by Theodor Fontane was carried out in front of this hotel in 2007. The old town of Leba changed location in the past because it was getting covered over by encroaching sand dunes. These ever growing sand dunes are now part of the Slowiñski National Park. This park is about 8 kilometres west of Leba. It is filled with sand dunes, pine trees, lots of different species of birds and apparently has wild boar though we did not encounter any. The park occupies about 186.18 square kilometres. UNESCO designated the Slowinski National Park a biosphere reserve as part of its Programme on Man and the Biosphere in 1977. Polish beer is excellent, but Leba was one of the few places we could find it on draft; most places sold bottles. We always rounded up a trip here with a pint of draft Hevelius before heading back to Lebork.

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Town Of Leba

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy was another of our favourite places. We always went here by train. Unfortunately it was only served by slow local trains and when I say slow I mean you could practically have walked faster. As we only ever went when we were not in a hurry, we found this very funny and got used to the gentle chug, chug, chug of the train together with frequent long, unexplained stops. Kartuzy is situated on a lovely lake surrounded by forests. Its famous building is a large church by the side of the lake. This was built in 1380. It was once home to a small group of Carthusian monks originally from Bohemia who were obsessed with death and preparing for the afterlife. The roof of the church is shaped like a coffin; the monks slept in coffins and there is a huge clock in the centre of the church with the angel of death on it. His scythe forms a pendulum and there is a Latin inscription on it reminding us that - 'every second takes us closer to death'. You can hear the ominous ticking of this cheerful timepiece all over the church as you wander around pondering your own imminent demise. I loved it, because I found it so hilariously over the top. Kartuzy also had a very good market and lovely lakeside walks.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Kartuzy.

Sopot.

Sopot is part of what is known as the tricity: the cities of Gydinia, Gdansk and Sopot. Sopot is in the middle between Gydinia and Gdansk. The word Sopot means stream or spring. Sopot is on the Baltic Sea and has a beautiful long silver sand beach. The beach is edged with woods which are stunning shades of red and orange in the autumn. Sopot is a spa town and people come there for rest, relaxation, recuperation. It has the longest wooden pier in Europe 650 metres long, 450 metres of that actually in the sea. The pier was normally surrounded by swans and was a favourite haunt of walkers and fishermen. The Grand Hotel is a wonderful luxury hotel on the beach at Sopot. The hotel has a casino and luxury shops.The hotel was built around 1927 at a cost of 20 million Danzig gulden. It was originally known as the Kasino Hotel. It is now owned by the Sofitel Group. Famous guests at this hotel include: Alfonso XIII, King of Spain; Martin Bormann, private secretary to Adolf Hitler; Charles Aznavour; Fidel Castro; Marlena Dietrich; Charles de Gaulle; Hermann Göring, second in command of the German Third Reich; Adolf Hitler; Annie Lennox; Greta Garbo; Vladimir Putin; Demis Roussos; Omar Sharif and Boney M. Sopot has a famous lighthouse which dates from 1903. Sopot is home to the famous Sopot International Song Festival.

Sopot

Sopot

Sopot

Sopot

Sopot

Sopot

Sopot

Sopot

Sopot

Sopot

Swans on the beach at Sopot. - Poland

Swans on the beach at Sopot. - Poland

Gdynia

Gdynia is a city and major port on the Baltic Sea. It is part of the Gdynia, Sopot, Gdansk tricity and stands on the Bay of Gdansk. Gdynia is mainly a modern city. On its sea front it has a monument to Joseph Conrad. This monument was created by Danuta and Zdzislaw Koseda and Wawrzyniec Samp. It was originally unveiled in 1976. Joseph Conrad came from Berdychiv in the Ukraine and had no links with Gdynia, but he was of Polish origins and wrote books about the sea such as Lord Jim so I guess a monument to him in a Polish port makes some sense. Near this monument stands the Maritime Museum with several weapons displayed outside. My fondest memory of Gdynia is when we came and ate in its Chinese restaurant to celebrate my birthday as I was missing Chinese food since I had just lived for three years next to a Chinese restaurant in Northern Cyprus.

Gdynia

Gdynia

Gdynia

Gdynia

Gdynia

Gdynia

Gdynia

Gdynia

Gdansk.

Gdansk is the third part of the Gdynia, Sopot, Gdansk tricity. It is a port and is located on Gdansk Bay. As Gdansk is quite a famous city, I already had expectations of what it would be like before I first visited. I expected it to be industrial and filled with shipyards. While it does have industry and shipyards, the centre of Gdansk is actually very beautiful and interesting. Most of Gdansk was flattened in the Second World War, but as with many Polish cities, the historic centre has been beautifully restored. Gdansk old town has tall buildings with gabled roofs. It always reminded me of Amsterdam when we visited. Gdansk has lots of churches and museums. One of the churches, St Mary's is the largest brick church in the world. During martial law between 1981 and 1983 members of the Solidarity movement sought refuge in St Mary's. The old town has a pretty fountain called Neptune's Fountain. Its centre piece is the god Neptune clutching his trident. Neptune is made of bronze. He was first erected as a statue in 1549. Later in 1633 he was converted into a fountain. He survived World War II as he was dismantled and hidden. The Motlawa River flows through the old town of Gdansk. This river has many ships and is lined with museums, restaurants and bars. Gdansk's Maritime Museum can be found here. This museum is made up of four separate parts:The Crane, the Soldek ship, the National Maritime Museum and the the Maritime Culture Centre. The museum is on both sides of the Motlawa River and a ferry will take you from one part of the museum to another. Some of the old town's streets are lined with shops or stalls selling amber jewellery, wood carvings, wooden boxes and wooden chess sets. We did not always go to Gdansk as tourists. We often went to visit the British Council Library. We had our favourite cheap restaurant where we would go and eat a big plate of bigos and our favourie bar on the Motlawa River where we would drink ice cold bottles of Gdanskie beer. This was my favourite Polish beer.

Gdansk

Gdansk

Gdansk

Gdansk

Gdansk

Gdansk

Gdansk

Gdansk

Gdansk

Gdansk

Enjoying a beer in Gdansk. - Poland

Enjoying a beer in Gdansk. - Poland

Torun.

We visited Torun on a freezing cold winter's day. That's my excuse for my rather bleak, colourless, brown, photos. As we approached the walls of the historic city centre we stopped to watch some children having a great time sledging in the snow. Torun is located in northern Poland on the banks of the Vistula River. It is one of the oldest cities in Poland. It was the birthplace of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. The medieval centre of Torun was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Torun's historic centre is surrounded by thick defensive walls. Torun has a cathedral, several churches, a town hall and a leaning tower. By accident we strayed onto the grounds of the closed ethnographic museum. Its skansen has historical farmsteads, a windmill and old wooden cottages. The oldest cottage dates back to 1767. The ethnographic museum was established in 1958.

Torun

Torun

Torun

Torun

Torun

Torun

Torun

Torun

Torun

Torun

Malbork.

Malbork is a town in northern Poland situated on the delta of the Vistula River. We visited here on a day trip in order to see the famous castle of the Teutonic Knights. This is the largest brick castle in the world. Malbork Castle was built in the 13th century as the headquarters of the Order of Teutonic Knights. They came here to convert the local population from Paganism to Christianity. Malbork Castle is situated on the banks of the Nogat River. Malbork means castle of the Virgin Mary. The castle complex is actually three castles combined into one. When Malbork was part of Prussia the Teutonic Knights based in Malbork Castle collected tolls from any boats passing along the Nogat River. They also had a monopoly on the amber trade here. Malbork was a member of the Hanseatic League, and many Hanseatic meetings were held in Malbork Castle. Malbork Castle suffered damage in World War II.

Malbork

Malbork

Malbork

Malbork

Malbork

Malbork

Malbork

Malbork

Warsaw.

Warsaw is the capital of Poland and its largest city. It is located on the River Vistula. We visited Warsaw just once on a day trip. It was a bitterly cold day in the middle of winter. Warsaw suffered dreadful damage during World War II, but its historic centre has been beautifully restored. The restored buildings are all in the same period style. The reason for Warsaw's destruction was that in 1944 the population of Warsaw rose up against Hitler's occupying forces. The German Reich's revenge was swift and resulted in the burning, bombing and destruction of 90% of the city. There are statues and sculptures all over the restored old town commemorating the Warsaw Uprising. Resistance fighters are depicted emerging from manholes, grenades in hand as they try to drive out the invaders. It took many years to rebuild Warsaw's historic centre. Researchers used paintings and photographs as an architectural blueprint. The restoration work was not finished until 1962. Now the historic centre of Warsaw is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We travelled to Warsaw with a work colleague with a very different travelling style to us. She kept wanting to eat, while I kept wanting to sight see. Consequently I did not see everything I wanted to see. Warsaw has a beautiful old town square, a castle, a cathedral, churches, museums. In the evening we strolled through the Old Jewish Quarter. The Jewish Ghetto was flattened after an attempted uprising in 1943, but some parts of the Ghetto wall still remain. Warsaw has many memorials. One of them is Syrena the mermaid. This statue commemorates an old legend. One day Prince Kazimerez lost his way while on a hunting expedition, a mermaid guided him back to safety by firing burning arrows to lead him back to his companions. The mermaid is the symbol of Warsaw. Another well known memorial is the little insurgent the statue of a boy soldier holding a sten gun and wearing an oversized helmet. This statue was raised on October 1st, 1983. It was designed by Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz. The statue is a tribute to the children who served as messengers and front line troops in the uprising. Many of them were killed in the fighting.

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Krakow.

Krakow is the second largest city in Poland. Its historical centre has survived wars with considerably less damage than any other Polish city, making it Poland's most historical city. Krakow is located on the River Vistula. We visited Krakow for a day. It is a beautiful city with a huge castle called Wawel Castle right in its centre. It also has an old town and an Old Jewish Area Kazimierz. In the Jewish area we visited a former synagogue which is now a museum. The museum documented life for Jewish people before, during and after the Second World War. For me the most distressing exhibit was a school photo of a primary school class taken around 1937. All the children in the photo are Jewish. Their happy, smiling faces look into the camera with so much hope for their future and underneath there was a little note stating the number of them that were dead by 1945. I have seldom seen a more powerful symbol for the horrific pointlessness of war. Parts of the film Schindler's List were filmed in Krakow. The Wawel area dates from the fourteenth century and consists of Krakow's Castle and Cathedral. You can view the Polish crown jewels in the castle treasury here. The cathedral was the site of the coronation of every Polish king and queen. On the riverbank outside the castle there is a statue of the Wawel Dragon. This terrifying creature once lived in the large cave behind where he stands. He terrified the local people and plundered their livestock. The dragon was eventually tricked into eating a bag of sulphur which killed him. This statue dates from 1972 and was designed by local artist Bronislaw Chromy. The heart of the old town is Rynek or Market Square with its magnificent cloth hall, town hall tower and St Mary's Basilica. Here you can also find Saint Wojciech's Church with its green roofs this is one of the oldest churches in Krakow. In the centre of the square stands a monument to Adam Mickiewicz, a famous Polish poet.

Cracow Or Krakow

Cracow Or Krakow

Cracow Or Krakow

Cracow Or Krakow

Cracow Or Krakow

Cracow Or Krakow

Elblag.

We visited Elblag purely because we discovered it was the home of EB beer which was one of the most popular Polish beers when we stayed in Poland. The Elblag Brewery is Poland's largest brewery. It belongs to the Zywiec Group. Zywiec is also an extremely popular Polish beer. Nowadays it is exported to the UK among other places. Brewing beer in Elblag dates back to 1309. In that year Teutonic Master Siegfried Von Leuchtwangen bestowed brewing privileges on the town of Elblag. The current brewery dates from 1872. Elblag is situated about 55KM southeast of Gdansk. The city is a port located on the River Elblag. Elblag was almost totally destroyed at the end of World War II. The old town has now been partially restored. Its skyline is dominated by St Nicolaus's Church.

Elblag

Elblag

Posted by irenevt 06:23 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

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