After a three day indoctrination into the ways of large European cultural institutions (ResArtis Eastern European Meeting) in Warsaw, Julie and I made our way by train to Gdansk (Danzig). Or Gdynia? Or Gdansk? We actually didn’t really know until after we had mutely bought our tickets. Or ticket. We weren’t sure whether we bought one or two of them. A few minutes before we boarded the train, our host in northern Poland told us that although we thought we were going only to Gdansk, that we should stay on the train and she’d meet us in Gdynia. Same difference?

A point for Poland

Well, not really. The three cities in this area: Gdansk, Sopot, and Gdynia touch but they have distinctly different characters. And at this point, we should learn what they are because we may be spending much more time in the region—we are thinking it may be a good idea to open up the Caravansarai Summer Home in the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk. This is the very ground where Lech Wałęsa headed the Solidarity labor union to mobilize against the Communists. It also happens to be beautiful and inspiring and mostly abandoned by commerce. The one art space in the shipyards held a graffiti festival there this summer, which left the place colorful and livable.

Pixelated Lech Walesa on the side of a Soviet era building in Gdansk

Caravansarai's Summer home--the Polish Pirate Academy

Actually, most of Poland was liveable. As in, I would live there if I had a reason. There were some things which would take some getting used to. Like showing up at a party in Sopot at 10pm to a flat full of completely smashed revelers. The host greeted us with the splash of the contents of his wine glass, and the promise that he was too drunk to remember our names. But that’s what happens when you start shooting back vodka early in the evening. The weather can be cold, but made tolerable by nights which are warm in the best sort of way. Ahhh . . . to stroll at night on Baltic sand and then . . . let’s just say I’m thinking of lots of reasons to stay in the Tri-Cities area. . .


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