Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Field Trip - Poland

Today we're off to Poland, which now is where my mother was born. Confusing? When she was born, it was the Free City of Danzig, but now it's Gdansk, so when she decided to return to her birthplace, we went to Poland. Learning about my roots, regardless of the name of the country, or the language they speak now, was an experience I will never forget. I've included more photos than usual (but a mere fraction of those I took on the trip. If anyone's browser is slow to download them, please let me know for future reference.

Old Town

The Grand Hotel in Sopot. My mother's family vacationed in this town every summer. They would spend their days on the beach near this hotel, and they'd watch the ladies at the afternoon "tea dances" and dream of someday staying at the hotel itself. It was 60 years later, but we did stay at the hotel. No more afternoon dances on the lawn, and the spacious guest rooms were broken up to accommodate more lodgers, but the old world elegance was still there. Linen sheets (not cotton). Buttons by the door for beckoning the maid, or the waiter, or the bellman.

Keep Reading...

The boardwalk adjacent to the hotel, where my mother's family would stroll up and down along with all the other vacationers.

Monument at Westerplatte, marking the site of the first battle of the European theater in WWII.

My grandfather's family granary, directly across the water from Westerplatte. We're thankful they had managed to leave prior to that date.

We took a day trip to Hel, which had been a restricted military site while my mother lived in Danzig. However, it's now a popular recreation destination, and houses a marine research facility. Hubby's connections got us a tour. We took the boat over and the train back. I'm not sure the Polish-speaking clerk who sold us our boat ticket appreciated why we found it amusing to walk up to the counter and request a "one way ticket to Hel."

Harbor crane, a landmark of Danzig

These are some of the more pleasant memories of the trip. I also have pictures of the concentration camp at Stutthof, a site my mother felt obligated to visit. I don't know how she found the strength to go into the ovens and gas chambers. I got about as far as the dormitory with its narrow wooden triple bunks (each bunk sleeping three women) and our guide's translation of how the standard treatment for any injury was a paper band-aid followed shortly thereafter with a trip to the gas chamber. After that, I waited by the gate. Since I don't want to end on a depression note, how about a few pictures of Malbork castle, another day trip.

Enjoy your weekend. For us, it'll be garage sale madness. Then documenting the leftover for donation to charity. Can't pass up a tax deduction. And, speaking of taxes, haven't started. One more addition to my to do list.


Annabelle Ambrosio said...

Found your trip to Poland very interesting. Thanks for posting it.
Ann Ambrosio

Caroline Clemmons said...

Terry, what a wonderful trip. The concentration camp would be difficult for me, too, but I'm glad you had this time with your mom. It looks like a beautiful country. Thanks for sharing.

Terry said...

Beautiful place. I particularly liked the square in Sopot.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks fpr stopping by. We've dismantled the desks in our offices, so my computer is on the floor. Mostly, I'm schlepping stuff for the garage sale tomorrow. In a few minutes, the tv will be disconnected too.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Terry.
What wonderful pictures and what a trip it must have been for you and your Mum. I bet you will rmemeber this for the rest of your life.

Terry Odell said...

Margaret - Definitely. I only wish it hadn't taken my mother 60 years to be willing to go back.

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the photos! What beautiful buildings :)

The Old Silly said...

SOO jealous! Would love to be there - enjoy the trip!

Carol Kilgore said...

I love the photos. Always do. I'm sure the trip with your mother was one you'll always remember. Do well on your garage sale!

Terry Odell said...

Marvin, it's a metaphorical "today we're off" since it's Friday Field Trip day. It WAS a great trip.

Carol - Thanks. The craziness will be getting everything set up while the early bird vultures descend. But there's no way around it unless you have 2 garages!

Mason Canyon said...

Great photos. Looks like a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for sharing your trip.

Journaling Woman said...

Wow! Did you call me to go and I just missed the call? :)

Have fun.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Beautiful place!

How did garage sale madness go today?

Mystery Writing is Murder

Terry Odell said...

Mason, thanks. The history is what gets me -- as a raised in the USA person, we just haven't been a country long enough to have the kind of history that's found in Europe.

JW -- so, where were you about 10 years ago or so when we took the trip? I'm bad with dates, but it's been a while.

Elizabeth, the sale went very well, madness and all. But I'm sore and exhausted. Too much lifting to get everything set up, and then to put the leftovers back so we can donate them to charity next week. Have to deal with that tomorrow. Then, on to packing our own stuff.

Anonymous said...

WHY did you have to mention taxes? I was so enjoying the field trip . . . : )

Terry Odell said...

Drue -- why did you remind me. I'd forgotten! I suppose I'd better install Turbo Tax on my computer before I forget and pack the disc. Not that I'm going to get to dealing with it anytime soon.