…continuing, let’s talk about travel
After twenty-one hours on the ferry, we finally arrived in Gdynia. Now, we had to find accommodation for the night but our first challenge was to get out from the port to the city. A bit of a less than average customer services from Finnlines, as we had to wait for about thirty minutes or so to be transported out of the ferry to where we can catch a bus to town. Eventually, we were transported to the drop-off area, and then the driver told us “oh! the buses that pick up people from the ferry have already left, but I can take you to the nearest bus station or call a taxi for you”. We opted for the bus instead.
Kindly enough he took us the bus station and then told us he was not sure which bus number to take…huh!? Well, there was a bus already but when we asked the driver if he was going to the centre, he just gave us that I don’t understand shrug. Yep! language issues already. But this was supposed to be a tourist area, surely someone working in this area should have at least basic English communication skills (my opinion of course), amongst other things.
On the ferry we had met a student who was on a cycling trip around Europe and she was actually coming from our neighbouring city. So, journey had already started to be interesting as we tried to figure out how to get to the centre. We decided to walk together as it was not to far, about 3 km. Hubby and I already felt like teenagers, such fun!
It was an easy walk to the centre and once there we decide to take a train to the next town Gdańsk rather for accommodation. We left our fellow traveller in Gdynia as she wanted to stick around and find a hostel there. We jumped on the next train – lots of them at this time (peak hour) but along the way we realised that Gdańsk has about 6 stops on the route and we don’t know which one is central town.
Anyway, we start now assessing the areas through the windows and could tell, OK now this is a suburb, industrial area, etc. As we progress further the areas became shabbier, stop by stop and I started to have nightmares of being stranded in these places, think more along the lines of downtown Johannesburg that is in tatters – these places are still better though, but close with graffiti all over the place (pity I don’t have a pic as we were busy trying to figure our way, to even remember to take one).
We decided to get off and take another train back to where we saw something resembling decent shopping centre. When we got there of course, out from the train station we immediately see the “magic word” – HOTEL, on the other side. You know when you are a tourist sometimes even crossing a street is a mission, we didn’t see any traffic lights or pedestrian crossings nearby but we eventually found the way. We got to the hotel only to be told that it was full and it was also too pricey, even if they had availability. We asked for recommendations for other hotels in the area and we are pointed onto central town, which is not too far apparently. Just had to take the train back to the direction we were going in the first place, as it appears we got off just 2 stops earlier before central town. Luckily, we didn’t have to pay for these rides. The InterRail ticket allows us to travel as many times as we can per day. Another lovely part – not having to drag suitcases along but just your backpack attached to your back.
We were eventually helped by a local, who saw us trying to figure out maps to allocate hotels. He spoke English (not very common so far in this part) and told us to go straight to the information/tourist office. Info. office was easy to find with his directions and the consultant was so helpful, she even called our chosen hotel and made a booking for us. In fact, people are so helpful in this country that you start thinking they are going to ask for payment.
The hotel was nicely allocated in the quiet side of town but walking distance to everything. My excitement at seeing a BATH, you cannot imagine. I have not used the bath since we left South Africa that was about ten months ago then – as it is not a standard bathroom fixture in Finland. Then, the comfortable bed – it’s what dreams are made of. Absolute bliss!
to be continued…