The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Part V: Drive through Gdansk

We left Warsaw in the early afternoon. I managed to get a snap of these dashing young men in uniform as we left the train station. That'll be a recurring theme. You know those places you have a glimpse of, but leave knowing you'll have to come again? That's Gdansk. We only spent an evening and a morning there so we only had a very brief visit of the place.

It felt, upper-class medieval. Which is what it historically was, a bourgeois German trading town. Capitalism had not quite disfigured the place yet, but she's working on it. Knowing that we did not have much time, we rushed to our hostel and dropped off our stuff to do some kiffy-quick exploration of the town. WW2 had NOT demolished the place as you might have expected! In fact, there were lots of quaint reminders that this was a hanseatic town everywhere. There was also funky statues, including that one with a guy's foot on the guy's head.

We had dinner, although it was interrupted by a humour festival parade which was accompanied by some guy and his family in fancy cars. There were big crowds around him and he wore a white suit and bowler hat, how eccentric of him, he posed for pictures with some people. The next interruption was a poor starving russian student who tried to sell us some postcards to pay for his studies. We were low on cash and felt like desert, poor bugger. It was starting to get late evening and we started slowly walking back while admiring the town and sea. We walked behind some 50somethings and overheard some French. They then spoke, with a heavy accent, in English about some sort of political debate. I could only catch "But Amerrica talkss about leebertee but they still had slaves when all Yurope did not!" I have only one word to say: Algérie. I know, it's not slavery but it's the same shit.

We then got back to the hostel and slept. Well, not Wyatt. He'd left his passport at the reception earlier that evening because we didn't have the cash on us to pay for the night. Only the reception wasn't there when we got back. Finally they showed and all was well. I remember it being rather busy with a big common dormitory. The next morning we got psyched up for our next stop and the cornerstone of our trip: Kaliningrad, the capital of the Teutonic Order, the capital of the first Protestant State, the former crowning place for Prussian Kings and now one of Russia's imperial leftovers, an island of Russian and her only warm-water naval base. We bought the bare essentials necessary for the ride there, which according to my notebook consisted of, 4 zlotys worth of food, a snickers and a bottle of water. Gulp.