Saturday, May 13—Viking Homeland Cruise, Day 8, Gdansk, Poland

We arrived in Gdansk on Saturday morning, docking to the sounds of a welcoming marching band.
Gdansk is a lovely, vibrant city.  Like many of the other European cities we’ve visited over the last couple of years, many of the old historic buildings were destroyed in World War II, but have been restored/rebuilt.  Interestingly, in Gdansk this was not done to beautify the city as much as to help cleanse the city of all traces of German influence, while enhancing Flemish/Dutch, Italian, and French influences.  Our tour, with a “coarse” Irish tour guide (he married a Polish doctor), included the famous Gate No. 2 of the Gdansk Lenin Shipyard, Long Market, the Green Gate (a former royal residence), the 15th century Artus Court, and the Gdansk treadwheel crane—much like a hamster wheel—a 14th century human-powered mechanism to assist the medieval port in loading and unloading cargo.  Along with Prague in the Czech Republic, Gdansk is now one of our favorite European cities.

Green Gate, Gdansk
Long Market, Gdansk
Golden Gate, leading into Old Town, Gdansk

Gdansk Treadwheel Crane

Young family posing for photos

Old Town, Gdansk
St. Mary’s Basilica, Gdansk
Most recently, Gdansk is best remembered as the birthplace of the Solidarity trade union movement whose opposition to the Communist regime led to the end of Communist rule in 1989, leading to the Solidarity’s leader, Lech Walesa, becoming president of Poland in 1990.

Marking site of Lech Walesa’s office, Gdansk
Weather today was sunny and mid-80s.

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