I have been working on a return visit to Poland for a while now. My last plan was binned in December when the Omicron variant took hold and travel restrictions kicked in again.
My previous visits to the country were in 1998, so the gap was over 30 years. Even those were limited to a couple of very short work trips to Warsaw. I saw a bit of Warsaw, but nothing more.
Well, the wait is over and I spent 4 nights in Gdańsk last week. I got a reasonable deal
with Ryanair from Edinburgh – “reasonable” in that my outbound flight was just 5 days away. I got a fantastic deal at the Dwór Uphagena hotel – again even more “fantastic” because it was such a last minute trip.
My timing was not ideal because it coincided with Russia invading Ukraine, but I think that took most of us by surprise.
So yes, Gdańsk in the first week of March, mid-week, still under pandemic restrictions, and with war raging across the border. Oh, and Russia itself just 50 miles along the coast.
The city was quiet. My hotel was very quiet (unless you count the refugees). My flights were quiet by Ryanair standards. All good as far as I was concerned, but not wonderful if you look at the bigger picture.
My flight (from Edinburgh) cost me £160 return for their fare which includes a checked in bag. Both flights arrived early. On the outward flight I had the row to myself. On the return the middle seat was empty. I could not fault them.
The hotel cost £58 per night for a spacious studio, although breakfast was extra. It was a real bargain. It is about 15 minutes walk from the city centre proper, which suited me because the neighbourhood is quiet – no noise from traffic, pubs or clubs.
The food was great in the hotel restaurant, and I ate there on three nights. The staff were all efficient and professional. Several were friendly too. It is a hotel I would certainly use again if I go back.
I did wonder about the weather at this time of year in that part of the world. It turned out very well – cold and sunny, which is my kind of ideal. Perfect for walking about provided you have the right clothes.
In terms of pandemic restrictions it was much like Scotland – masks in museums, the airport and so on. The exception was the hotel where almost none of the staff wore masks. I enquired, and was told that they should, but they don’t. OK, well…
I had to get a pre-flight lateral flow test before arriving in Poland, but if my vaccine booster had been within 90 days of departure it would not have been a requirement. Passport control scanned my digital vaccination certificate but did not ask for the test certificate. OK, well… £30 I will never get back.
That is all for now. If I remember and if I find the time (being semi-retired is a busy thing) I will write something about what I did in Gdańsk.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2022
Snap! I too was in Poland recently, with my Lonely Planet guidebook, but at the other end of the coast. I flew to Berlin and hired a car for the drive over the border to Świnoujście, a port and resort town. Quiet out of season, and it rained, but I ate well and walked a lot between the showers. And like you, I found the prices reasonable; I spent less than half of the money which I got out of an ATM.
It felt unreal because of events across the border.