1,5 days in Gdańsk

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017 in Blog | Leave a comment

Earlier this year, I had the sudden urge to travel somewhere. The destination didn’t really matter, I just wanted to get out there. With limited options to take time off, I found a perfect fit for my 2 days off in early February. On Monday, I would fly low cost airline Wizzair from Groningen to Gdańsk (Poland) and spend the night there. Then on Tuesday afternoon I planned to flying back again via Copenhagen. This way, I had the opportunity to visit a new country, fly 2 new airlines and log 1 new aircraft type.

The flight to Gdańsk has a scheduled departure time of 08:20, which meant a bit of an early start to the day. I allowed myself enough time to slowly wake up and then drove to the airport. Once arrived, I had a short chat with my colleague and proceeded to the terminal. I was already checked in and only had my camera bag with me, so the whole process went pretty fast. After a while, boarding commenced and I walked straight to and up the rear stairs and settled in 24A.

The flight was very uneventful and with clouds covering the earth all the way to Gdańsk, there wasn’t much to look at unfortunately. I tried to get some sleep during the 1 hour flight, but wasn’t able to. The landing went smooth and when rolling out on the runway, I heard people at the front clapping… Which is a bit of a pet peeve for me when flying.

Once I got out of the terminal, I followed the blue line to the bus station, but decided I would take the train instead. Back home we complain a lot about the national train services, but here I found navigation on how to get to downtown Gdańsk very limited. A Dutch couple that happened to be there a well asked at the info desk in the terminal and were provided with the info. I tagged along until we arrived in Gdańsk, after which we all went our separate ways.

My plan was to go to Sopot, an adjacent city that has a large beach and pier. It’s pretty much the Polish equivalent of Scheveningen (for those who know). Only at that moment it was -2 degrees and a bit windy. Still was nice to have a look around though and I can imagine that place being very popular and crowded in summer.

One thing that struck me at some point was how quiet it was. When on the pier, you would only hear the sounds of nature and hardly that of people. No loud conversations, no kids screaming. It was nice. Same goes for the city center, which I crossed on my way back to the train station.

Getting back to Gdańsk, it was time to find the hotel. But not without some delay and detours. I had a map on my phone and walked into the general direction of the hotel when I stumbled upon a large ferris wheel. I had to satisfy my curiosity, so I checked their prices and thought it wasn’t too bad. I got on and went for a few rounds in the next 15 minutes. The views were quite nice, getting a good look at the skyline of Gdańsk. Afterwards, I walked to the St. Mary’s church and found myself in an alley that had all kinds of jewelry displayed outside. At the end of it, I got to the canal and then was aware of my location. I followed the canal to the Green Gate, which was close to my hotel.

Check-in was a breeze and I soon found myself in my room. It was a pretty good room and I just relaxed for an hour or 2. As it was already afternoon, I made use of the Wi-Fi to find a restaurant to eat at – I opted for Mexican food. In the meantime it started to snow lightly, which only added to the vibe of the city. It’s quite photogenic at night and even though I see the benefits of being there in the summer, I certainly won’t complain about the way I experienced it.

On my way to the restaurant I passed by the historic museum and ferris wheel, both being illuminated nicely and deserved a moment for photos. After some minutes at each location, it was definitely time for food, so I proceeded to the restaurant. I found it relatively quickly and thankfully they had a table for me. I choose the nachos as a starter and tacos as the main dish. The nachos were good, but I had higher expectations for the tacos. However, it was an OK meal that was also quite cheap compared to back home. The meal + 0,5l beer + service tax (it was included in the bill) amounted to only €12. After dinner, I went back to one of the statues to take some more photos and then called it a day.

The next morning I woke up at 8:30 and checked out an hour later. It was still snowing and apparently had been overnight as well. The temperature dropped to a cool -7, at which it remained for the rest of the day. My plan was to go into the city for an hour or 2-3 and then make my way to the airport again. The day before, I saw some other churches and I wanted to have a look at those as well. So I made my way in their general direction and found at least 3-4 other churches, a park and a good looking marketplace.

After this I walked to the train station to get to the airport. Since I didn’t have breakfast yet, I got some pastries at the station (really tasty!). The first part of the journey was easy, but once I got to the connecting station things started to get confusing again. I had some trouble finding the correct train/platform, but eventually got on the right one. At the airport, I had a few hours to kill and spent some of it outside next to the fence. Not a lot of things happening though.

After a while I had enough of the cold and went through security to chill in the departure area. From there I had a good overview of the apron and subsequently picked a seat next to the big glad windows. The free Wi-Fi came in handy to keep track of the inbound flight of my aircraft, but I was disappointed to find out that OY-KBP was on its way – I had already flown that aircraft last year.

At some point, I saw 2 other aircraft going into the holdings while the snow plows were forming a train on the runway. 1+1=2. The runway had to be sweeped and during that time no movements were possible. My aircraft was number 3 and had to make 2 holdings as well, adding some more time to the already delayed flight.

In the end we finally boarded and it was good to see that today’s flight had a light load. This was especially the case in the back of the aircraft, where several people (including myself) had 3 seats to ourselves. Because of the weather, we also had to de-ice before departure. We were again #3 in line, resulting in another small delay. Kudos to the captain though, as he kept us very informed of everything that was going on. Luckily I had 1,5h transfer time before my flight to Groningen and I already calculated that I would still make that easily, despite all the delays.

Time literally flew by and we commenced the approach into Copenhagen. I had about 40-50 minutes to make my way to the gate and headed straight there. In hindsight, I probably could’ve taken it a bit easier, as I got to the gate much too early. Lesson learned for next time!

I was glad to see the scheduled Embraer 145 showing up, as this was the aircraft that I wanted to log. I got settled in 9A, but was asked if I wanted to take the exit row as those seats were empty. This was no problem for me and happily complied. The flight took about an hour and was pretty uneventful. Once on the ground at Groningen, it only took me 20 minutes to get home and that concluded my first successful trip of 2017.

All in all, Gdańsk is a nice city to visit for a couple of days and I can definitely recommend it. Wizzair flies the route from Groningen on Monday and Friday and tickets can be booked for little money if you search well enough and wait for a bargain. Prices in Poland are cheap compared for Euro countries, so even if you’re on a bit of a budget it’s still a good option for a citytrip.

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