Passing the time, Baltic style


A little summary of my activities since I left you.

At 3pm on Tuesday I was back in the dental saddle where the impossibly glamourous Doctor Anna installed a temporary crown on the tooth on which she had performed the the root canal. I hope to have the permanent one installed on Friday. Ominously as I was leaving she asked if I was in Poland until Saturday and what time my flight was. I hope she has no plan to invite me for early Saturday morning procedures. I am seeing the experimental rock band Son Lux in a shipyward warehouse on Friday night and I wanted to bare my shiny new teeth to all and sundry.

I arrived back to the old town and took a stroll to the World War 2 Museum in the old ship yard. It was horrifically upsetting and depressing. This country really suffered more than any other in the war. Some 18% o f the entire Polish population were slaughtered between 1939 and 1945 – including 3 million Polish Jews and 3 million ethnic Poles. I don’t know why I am surprised that it was so unpleasant – these chilling facts are already known to me. It’s a fascinating museum and well worth a visit. It’s also free on Tuesday.

After the museum I went for a pork dinner at an extraordinarily kitsch ‘olde worlde’ Polish restaurant called Restauracja Gdanska. The dinner was tasty – good, solid, filling northern European fair. I couldn’t finish it such was the portion size.

After work today I went to the Maritime Museum, only to find it closes at 4pm on weekdays. As it was already 3.30 I decided to postpone my visit to another day. Considering its Baltic location and seafaring history I want to spend some quality time there.

Instead I went to the breathtakingly dull Archaeological Museum in the Old Town. The building in which it is situated is very grand but the exhibition is spirit crushingly dull. The ground floor featured an exhibition of ancient Sudanese artifacts. Luckily there were English translations alongside the Polish text. The first floor was a display of Stone Age and Bronze Age implements from the Gdansk region (which is called Pomerania). The 2nd floor was a display of pieces from the late Bronze Age and Iron age. The displays of human skeletons and bones was a bit distracting. In typical style there were no English translations on this the most interesting floor. In total I spent about thirty minutes on three floors of the museum.

For my dinner I went to an Italian restaurant that is the second highest rated Gdansk restaurant according to TripAdvisor. Tucked away on a side street of the old town it is called Bistro Glowne Miasto. It only seats about twenty. I arrived early so nabbed a table. I was in luck as by 6.30 it was full and they were turning hordes of new arrivals away. I felt momentarily guilty for taking up a table meant for two. I quickly rid myself of that thought – if the restaurant does not cater for the solo diner then that’s not my problem. The food was spectacular. I had baked olives in an orange sauce for starter ; and Tuscan salmon on a beetroot base for the main.washed down with a glass of chardonnay. Because I’m classy.

After dinner I did a very bad thing. I took a stroll to the Forum Gdansk. This is a sparking new behemoth of a shopping centre on the edge of  Old Town. This ode to capitalist consumption was like stepping out of Poland into some vague, unidentifiable land. I swear there wasn’t a single Polish shop in the entire place,  as it was all dreary brand names. I purchased a set of three pairs of funky socks and made my way back to my humble garret where I am write this tale for your delectation.

It’s day four now. While Polish people are friendly and pleasant, I think I am reaching my limit. I enjoy my own company but I suspect that after four days a craving for proper human interaction kicks in. While Doctor Anna, is lovely I am slightly terrified of her needles and drills. A few more day and my new mouth will be ready to face the world.


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