August 16, 2019
While researching things to do in Gdansk, several people recommended a trip to Sopot, a seaside resort just outside of Gdansk. When my apartment wasn’t available for my last scheduled day/night, I decided to stay closer to Sopot to check out the coast. Mid-morning, I hailed an Uber and traveled the 8 miles or so to the Hilton Garden Inn in nearby Oliwa. It was the first hotel stay of my trip. There’s something to be said for getting toiletries, unlimited hot water, and breakfast included with your room. I did miss the spaciousness of my apartments though. I can’t complain though since I was using points to pay for the room.
I need to work on my map reading skills. Oliwa, although the next town over from Sopot, isn’t really close to the water. I would soon find that out when I took “a walk” to the beach. Over two miles later, I was at the beginning of the long beach, but really no closer to the action in Sopot. As I walked, I noticed that the architecture in the area was varied – it ranged from post-Soviet Eastern Block minimalist buildings to new modern apartments, to classically designed houses.
As I walked along the “boardwalk,” which had no direct sightline to the beach, there was a mix of fancy mansions/villas, apartments, and hotels. I even passed a Marriott (the Sheraton was further down the boardwalk in the heart of Sopot).
Every so often, there would be a break in the vegetation between the boardwalk and the beach where a path would lead down to the sand. Despite the questionable weather, there were plenty of people out trying to get the last rays of summer.
As I walked closer to Sopot, the number of people on the boardwalk increased, until there were swarms in the main square leading out to the pier. Since it was Friday, it looked like people were getting ready for some type of weekend festival or event centered around performance vehicles. There were lots of families out for strolls or on their way to make sandcastles on the beach.
Sopot isn’t exactly what I pictured as a seaside resort (the beach towns of California have clouded my vision), but I imagine it is close to what the Jersey shore used to look like back in the day. I’m not sure I would actually vacation in Sopot, but a day trip or two might be fine.
I decided to forego a walk on the pier for a long walk on the sand along the water (the Bay of Gdansk). Children played in the shallows, dogs chased sticks in the water, lifeguards were hunkered down but alert and grownups stayed safely tucked under blankets or behind windbreaks to stay warm in the breeze.
I loved the sounds of the seagulls mixed with the lapping waves, the swoosh of the windsurfers zipping by, and the sounds of children’s laughter. I overheard one child telling his sister to watch out for jellyfish, and decided to heed his caution myself. I saw what looked like translucent blobs on the wet sand and decided they looked enough like jellyfish to stay away. Luckily, they were only in one section of the beach.
I walked, and walked, and walked, enjoying my time in the sun meandering along the beach.
I soon realized that I had walked a really long way and decided to check my navigation. I had actually walked well past the closest street access for me to take back to the hotel. I backtracked, walked through the sugary sand and made my way back to the boardwalk.
By this time, my legs were tired from walking in the sand and my feet were not happy that I still had quite a long walk to the hotel. What to do, what to do? To pick me and my pace up, I did what any good Pole would do, I ordered an ice cream cone. Not sure it gave me any energy, but it sure was tasty.
Five hours after I’d left the hotel, I dragged myself back through the door. I was weary and a tad sunburned, but happy I’d gone to the beach on my last day in Poland.