Where: Gdansk, Poland
If somebody came up to you and said, “For £150 I’ll buy you a ticket somewhere, but you won’t know until you show up at the airport where you’re going”, would you say yes?
I know I would. That’s how I ended up in Gdansk.
This was a trip I purchased last term, almost three months ago, from LSE’s travelling society. We only got a few hints beforehand: It is in Eastern Europe. It is not a very touristy place. It is cold, but sunny. My guesses were for one of the Baltics, until I learnt they all were in the Euro, and we couldn’t use Euro where we were going. Then I was thinking Bosnia & Herzegovina, or maybe Belarus. But we honestly had no idea where we were going until we got to Stansted.
Luckily, I’ve been trying to get to Poland for years now. While Gdansk isn’t Warsaw or Krakow, it has a fascinating history centred around WWII; many consider the invasion of Gdansk to be the beginning of the war.
Gdansk itself is very small. We covered most of the city on the first day, and on the second day took a bus out to see some old fortresses. However I enjoyed it because it was so relaxed; unlike most cities I visit, I never felt like I had to rush from place to place to see everything.
The other upside of Gdansk is how cheap it is. Food, alcohol, souvenirs – all were less than half the price what I’d pay in London. There wasn’t a reduction in quality either; the seafood restaurant we went to was just as good as any I’ve been to elsewhere in Europe, and absinthe is the same no matter where I drink it (and I drink a fair amount).
Gdansk isn’t a city most people think to go to in Poland. I, too, wouldn’t have gone here if it wasn’t for this trip. But in the end I’m very glad that, of all the places we could have ended up, it was here.