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.
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.
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.