Quite pleased with our explorations of Gdansk yesterday. Cross referencing our guide book (heaven forbid one should miss a salient sight) confirms we’ve traveled far and wide. All the better to earn a little rest and relaxation today.
But not before we tick off a visit to the Town Hall museum. And as an added bonus, it tucks in very neatly before lunch!
The Town Hall has undergone more change than the average building. Work began on it in 1327, with the tower being added in 1468. A fire in the 1500s saw a remodel and extensive redecoration by prominent artists of the day. By the time their work was finished, the Hall was deemed one of the most beautiful in Europe and was used as a royal residence for a period. The Hall’s crowning glory is its Red Room, also once used as the city’s Council Chamber.
In 1945, the Town Hall was destroyed. The incarnation we see today is a faithful reconstruction and home to the Historical Museum of Gdansk.
The tour progresses level by level, but we stop short of the tower – my fault, heights, etc.
Featured heavily is beautiful woodwork – carved doorways and furniture, inland floors and walls panelling.
We see a display of historical silver tankards
and another of amber. Formed 40 – 50 million years ago, amber is a key part of Gdansk’s history – it’s been the centre of amber artistry for hundreds of years. Known as Baltic Gold, it’s been collected in the area for over 6,000 years. Interestingly, it washes up on the Bay of Gdansk and it’s a common sight to see hobbyists and professional jewelry makers combing the shores after heavy winter storms.
We see extraordinary photographs of the destruction of the Hall in 1945 and the subsequent rebuild.
Higher up is an impressionist art display and recreations of Polish life under socialism. There’s quite a lot to see!
Lunch beckons, settling in the shade of the Town Hall, cod is the order of the day – it’s excellent here, pan fried in a golden crumb. I’m sure the fishy goodness offsets the naughtiness of the chips…. somewhat.
All the amber on display has me rather keen for a piece, and as luck would have it, Himself seems equally keen to oblige. He really can be very nice sometimes. We walk Gdansk’s famous amber street, the Mariacka, full of amber workshops and jewellers. A rather lovely pair of amber drop earrings comes home with me. Most pleased.
As sad as it is to be moving on, time is starting to press upon us. We bid a very sad farewell to Gdansk – it’s truly a beautiful city with a great deal to see and do.
And with a last walk along its waterways, it’s time to go.
What’s left of the day is spent driving to Torun, a journey that takes a few hours. We arrive in early evening, settling just out of town.
We cross the mighty Vistula river again as we arrive – it really is everywhere on this journey.