…( Except that just for a weekend, I have taken a very long train ride to Berlin via Poznan to meet up with my son Tom, and Beckie his girlfriend)
I hardly know where to start, as it has been such a full few days since my tentative entry down a very steep steel ferry ramp ( not Sir G’s best surface) into Poland.
I confess that in the departure queue I was almost in tears… Not just being sad to leave, but also, inexplicably daunted by my own self-made wobbles about entering the unknown without a plan. Another unexpected dip in confidence, which saw me retreat into my cabin, dosed up with very necessary sea-legs ( it turned out to be the sort of ropy-poly crossing that turned many faces pale) in a rather withdrawn huddle. Those of you who received my requests for uplifting thoughts and travel angels, you really came up trumps, as I did feel much calmer later and was able to really enjoy gliding out on still waters, through the tranquil beauty of the archipelago with the most perfect sunset.
Waiting for me at the other end, having got down the ramp first, was the lovely Polish cycling couple who had helped me extract my bike from Barabara’s car in Nynäsham the previous afternoon. They showed me which major roads to avoid, mentioned some towns that would be enjoyable and then invited me to ride with them a little way until I was safely on the bike path that would eventually take me to my hostel in Oliwa. From there, it was angel after angel (too numerous to list,) who went out of their way to help me get my bearings, buy train tickets, point me towards a cash point etc….so if ever there was a lesson in accepting that when I am out of my depth it becomes vital to float on the very ready waves of human kindness… That it’s ok not to do it all … Then this is certainly one for me.
That evening I braved the local train into the old city centre (I am always nervous about traveling on public transport, let alone in a different country) and was absolutely enchanted by the beauty of the old facades and ornate architecture, golden in the evening sun, against a dramatic, darkening sky. Breathtaking.
I will just mention the staff at Wolna Chata hostel, who have been emailing me with regular answers to my queries for several days before I left Sweden and who have been bending over backwards to help ever since. They are storing bike and luggage, they have printed out sheet music (ready for guess what?!) and found train times for my quick flit to Berlin.
The next day, enjoying Gdansk on foot, the security guard in a huge shopping center grasped the gist of what I was on about enough to be able to conduct me through great grey corridors to ‘boss’ who welcomed the idea of a bit of Beethoven and, naturally Chopin, with open arms, so next wednesday off I’ll go again, playing on the big white Bluthner I spotted as I was shopping for maps.
Right now, though, I have the huge pleasure of sitting with Tom and Beckie in a buzzing hostel in Berlin and the pasta has just arrived. I will be returning to Gdansk via Szczecin (stchyechen is tricky to pronounce) on Monday by when I am sure a plan will begin to emerge. When I get back to my kit, I will add some pics, so watch this space!
Roof top Berlin and relaxing on it, Tom and Beckie!
Still waiting to post a couple of pictures of Gdansk, but I am not yet in full possession of my faculties/bits and bobs, which are across town in another hostel… (I’ve temporarily switched due to lack of beds for a couple of days)