Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Gdańsk, Poland—Day 143

Today we headed a little ways out of Gdansk and went to Malbork Castle, which was built by the Teutonic Knights in the 1300s. It is also the largest brick castle in the world! (Poland couldn’t just have the biggest brick church in the world, now could they?) Anyways, it was pretty cool. We took the train from the Gdansk train station, and after a few confused moments, we finally bought our tickets and were on our way (kinda). Not only did we have several people cut in line in front of us, but we had to wait a while for our platform to register that our train was, in fact, leaving from the platform it said it was and even when we got on our train we weren’t sure that we were quite in the right place.

Surprisingly, we met two women in our train car who not only spoke English, but one of whom had actually lived in Tucson and whose daughter currently lives in Tucson, where Sarah and I are from! How crazy! Here we are at the very top of Poland and we run into a woman who had lived in Tucson. They were both super nice and assured us that we were in the right spot.

About three quarters of an hour later, we got off at the Malbork stop and walked into town over to the huge red brick castle. We bought our tickets and headed inside with a small guide book and spent most of the mid morning and early afternoon wandering around the castle. It was very impressive, not only because of its huge size (it was designed as three castles in one!) but for the amount of restoration that has gone into the castle to restore the damage that it suffered during WWII.

After perusing around the castle, we went and had lunch on a boat restaurant near the castle and got our pictures taken in ridiculous costumes with swords. Who could have resisted?

We then walked a bit around the castle and then back to the train station. We decided to head back to Gdansk and get a few things done before getting dinner somewhere. So we got back on the train, luckily finding the right platform this time, and before I knew it, we were back in Gdansk. We figured out our train for tomorrow to Warsaw and booked reservations for it and then went back to the hotel where just at this time it was starting to pour with rain. Perfect timing.

After a few hours of picture organizing we were back out on the town with dinner in mind. We walked back to where we were yesterday in the Main Town area (Glowne Miasto) and got dinner at a really cute little place. It was funny because there was an Irish couple that we had asked at the Castle to take a picture of us and they were at the same restaurant for dinner! Small world!

Then we headed back to the hotel, thankfully the rain had cleared up at this point, and called it a night.

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.