After a short but sweet overnight stop in Berlin, the next day of our Interrail adventure took us across the Polish border to the pretty seaside resort of Sopot on Poland’s Baltic coastline. Read on to find out how we spent 3 days on Poland’s Baltic Coast.
It was another early morning for us all, with the alarm sounding at 6am sharp! In no time at all we had made it across to the Ostbahnhof and through our blurry morning eyes, had worked out which platform, and which train we needed to travel across to Berlin Lichtenberg, where our train which would take us across the border would set off from! With some time to spare at Berlin Lichtenberg before our train was due, the plan was to get a coffee and something for breakfast and relax, knowing that we didn’t have to stress or rush around with the bags.
While things initially went to plan, the morning was soon thwarted by the news that our train was delayed – a little strange considering it was the first train of the day, and was scheduled to start from Lichtenberg! Forty five minutes and a bit of panicking later, we were aboard the train to Angemünd where we had to change and thankfully the onwards train to Szczecin was held for us and we made the connection. Phew!
Another hour later and we pulled into Szczecin, where we had to change trains again, and then finally we were on the last leg of our journey, travelling through the beautiful countryside towards Sopot. The time travelling totalled about 6 hours, so needless to say, we were pleased when we pulled into Sopot’s newly developed station and could breathe in the fresh sea air.
We were greeted at the station by friends of ours, and our hosts for the long weekend. Once the bags were safely in the back of the car, we headed back to their house only to find a tasty meal awaiting us! We had a couple of hours to catch up and to relax, which was extremely welcome after the many trains and different platforms we had found ourselves on during the day.
In the evening we dined in Bagażownia, a Jewish restaurant housed in the former luggage room, where we filled our stomachs with various delicacies. Instead of each ordering our own dishes, we decided to order a selection and treat them as ‘tapas’, with everyone tucking in and trying what was on offer. Whilst I wouldn’t usually order plates such as herrings, liver in a raspberry sauce and giant duck pierogi (a bit like ravioli), I enjoyed sampling the different tastes and textures.
To end the evening, and to burn off some of the calories consumed at dinner, we walked the length of the Monte Casino street, which led us down to the sea-front and then had a twilight stroll along the wooden pier as far as the marina.
Our second day on the coast took us to the town of Hel, across the bay from Sopot. The journey took us through the neighbouring city Gdynia, known for its modernism architecture and port, and out along the peninsula; Hel being the furthest most point. The small town was once one of the most important trade centres of the Kashubian area, with its exposed sea front being an ideal place to catch plenty of fresh herrings. The town itself was not particularly big, with a marina, beach and central street lined with restaurants and souvenir shops.
For me, the highlight of our visit was the walk along the promenade. With the sea on one side and masses of pine trees on the other, nature was all around us and it was easy to forget that the town was only 500 or so metres away.
On our way back from Hel, we stopped in Puck, back on the mainland, for a bite to eat in a popular family-run fish restaurant which has been popular with locals for the last fifty years.
Back in Sopot, we had time to stroll around the town, stopping for a delicious gelato, before we set off to the open -air Opera in the woods for an evening of music, all the way from Memphis, USA.
Just twenty minutes east of Sopot is the beautiful port city of Gdansk, and this is where we spent our final day on the coast. We soaked up the atmosphere along the colourful Ulica Długa and Piwna, stopped for a refreshing ice cream break as we went. Close to the café (Goldwasser Coffee Shop) at which we stopped, some musicians appeared to be practicing for a show later that day and after the initial (loud) testing, it was pleasant to sit back and enjoy the music.
Once the ice creams were devoured, we set off through the so-called Green Gate, which was once the formal residence of Poland’s monarchs. On the other side of the gate, we emerged at the waterfront. We spent some time strolling along Długie Pobrzeże which features the iconic medieval crane of Gdansk, and, across the river Motława, along the wooden promenade.
Having watched the pirate ship come in and then leave the waterfront, we decided it was about time to slowly make our way back to the station. We retraced our steps up Ulica Długi Targ, passing the Neptune fountain on our way up to the Golden Gate at the top of the street. We then meandered through some of the backstreets, stopping in a quirky tea shop for a quick drink as we went.
Returning to Sopot in the afternoon, we visited the new ERGO sports arena where we were able to watch the Poland vs Romania handball match, which Poland won 32-31 in the last 5 seconds.
Our visit to the coast was soon at a close and we were contemplating our next journey, east to Olsztyn.