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Gdynia shim John & Kristie

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travel :: Thursday, August 13, 2009
EUROPEAN VACATION DAY 1 :: GDYNIA, POLAND :: Kristie was selected to participate in the first-ever Gdynia Business Week, an intensive and fun business simulation program designed to teach entrepreneurship and teamwork to high school students. The program was put together by the Washington Business Week organization and the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association, along with support from local businesses, the US Embassy in Warsaw, and volunteers such as Kristie. It's a ton of work, but she loves it.

We planned a trip around the time Kristie would need to be in Gdynia. I would be vacationing as she spent most of her time working in the program, but we scheduled a couple extra days before and after to enjoy some sights together. We stayed ten days in Gdynia, two days in Krakow, and two days in Germany's Rhineland.

Gdynia is part of The Tricity metropolis in Poland's Pomeranian province. Sopot and GdaƄsk are the other two cities, extending South-East along the Baltic Coast. Gdynia is the youngest of the three cities. It lacks the medieval and neo-classical architecture of its neighbors, but it makes up for it with its own unique charms.

We loved the scenic, seaside promenade (Bulwar Nadmorski) and touristy pier with carnival rides, shops, restaurants and historic ships. All of it spotlessly clean. Kristie used the mile-long promenade for exercise in the morning, but unfortunately, during one of her brisk walks, she tripped and tore a large flap of skin off the bottom of her palm. We couldn't find a proper bandage anywhere (partly because English is rarely spoken in Poland), thus my supply of crew socks were converted to gloves. It's a good thing the weather was great and I wore my sandals most days. Be on the lookout for Kristie's sock-glove (or her attempts to conceal it) in the upcoming posts and photos.

We also loved the parks and protected areas throughout Gdynia. The city is broken-up by a patchwork of hills and forests with a network of beautiful trails. This was pointed out to us by every tour guide or taxi driver we drove with. "See, we are in the middle of Gdynia. There are buildings. Soon, no buildings. Just trees. And again, buildings. That's Gdynia." We thought it was very nice, but we weren't sure if the local commuters necessarily agreed.

We stayed with the rest of the Gydnia Business Week team (and four national men's volleyball teams - Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and France) at the Hotel Nadmorski. The hotel and location was very nice, adjacent to the promenade and a short walk to the school. The buffet every morning was superb, although I'm beginning to think this is perhaps how all Europeans enjoy breakfast, at least while traveling. I recall my cheap hotel in Copenhagen had a similiar spread - various meats, sausages, eggs, cheeses, cereals, bread, pastries, juice and very strong coffee.

Next post: Malbork Castle!

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