Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sojourn in Sopot

During my five-day stay in Sopot, the weather violently ricocheted between dappled sunshine and bellowing, sea-churning tempests. Though the wavering weather (literally) dampened any plans I had to aqcuire a tan in the Baltic beach town, I still managed to have a rollicking good time.

A hefty boat, its prow poised to enter the waters.
The entire city exudes a nautical air, although I doubt it was ravaged by the swash-buckling, sea-faring pirates that now offer rides to tourists. Still, restaurants peddle delicate halibut and pungent cods; the walls are festooned with chipped seashells, and fishing nest dangle from the rafters; streetside vendors squall for attention to jewelry strung from amber, which is strewn across the beaches.

Also strewn on the beach? Green glass shards, cigarette cinders, discarded plastic bags. It's a far cry from Miami's own porcelain beaches, lapped up by the foamy white lace of turquoise waters. Despite being roughly the size of New Mexico, Poland encompasses within its borders nearly all appeasing landscapes - beaches to the north, purpled mountains to the south, and a vast patchwork of plains in the middle. But if such flippant disregard for the Polish ecology continues, it might be drained of its beautiful views. Though, admittedly, environmental destruction is a malady rampant everywhere, not just Sopot.
An impressive boat display in Gdynia, Sopot's next-door-neighbor.
Sopot is snugly nestled between two other cities teeming with culture and curios. In Gdynia, a ravishing boat display gave me ample opportunity to take a few snapshots (above). The other city, Gdansk, was a garden of sights and sounds and smells that was mine for the reaping - I traipsed from bookstore to bookstore, cafe to cafe, enlivened by the surging spirit of the city.                                                                    
Gdansk - a kaleidoscope of colors.
At the heart of the city, Poseidon is on a constant vigil.
I was completely enraptured with the Gdansk, especially with the stary miasto, or old town, which predates the one in my current lodging, Warsaw. Next year I want to dedicate more time to exploring its winding streets, chock full of vendors' stalls and cozy corners. But, unfortunately, my stay was cut short by the looming promise of a new adventure.
Sweeping views of Gdansk - somewhere, beyond the Baltic sea.

Next stop: Vienna, Austria. The habitual residence of constellations of musical, literary, and philosophical stars - and my Aunt Apa and Uncle Tadek. Apparently, in the coming days, I have an itinerary filled to the brim with excursions to palaces, galleries, and museums. Until then - adventure beckons!

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