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Gdańsk - Part One

Slow Start

semi-overcast 59 °F
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I awoke at 8:30 to see that Chris was not feeling too well. I said that we could eat breakfast up until 11:00. We fell asleep, blinked at 10:00, and woke thereafter at 11:15. I rushed to dress and head downstairs. The buffet was still open, so I made a plate for Chris. The waitor was nice enough to send a tray upstairs for sick Chris, while I ate downstairs and headed to the pharmacy. The walk outside was quaint, until I turned the corner to a magnificent main street with XV C (15th Century) buildings on either side, cafes lining both sides, and what felt like a flea market lot of vendors (cotton candy to amber jewelry). After 500m, I turned a block and found the pharmacy. A digital thermometer and fever medicine (found out later it was Tylenol with Codeine) for 18 zloty (~6 dollars). Chris opted for the last of our Extra Strength Tylenol, several glasses of water, and then he wanted to go. It was now around 1:00pm. We followed an adapted walking tour from this website, The Visitor. We were already at point 10 but decided to trek to 1 and start again. The Wyżynna Gate was still under construction but much like the Isartor in Munich. Continuing on back to the gate and toward the hotel, we saw the Executioner's House and Prison Tower, now an Amber Museum. 103.jpg104.jpgLots of stairs and piped screaming was wonderful prelude to our lunch. We diecided to venture out of the main drag to a pizza joint we had a coupon for (even though we forgot to use the coupon). We had a medium pizza ham, a beer, a coke, and 2 salads for around 16 dollars, not bad. 106.jpgWe saw a few more large old buildings (the tour was packed with them), we strolled Długa and Długi Targ streets, which I'd seen on the pharmacy route. Each building was marked by its differing gargoyle (or like kind) statues. 110.jpgMain City Hall and Artur Court were closed, so I'll see them this week while Chris is at his conference. We did see quite the tourist photography at the monument to Neptune (wrought iron gate added in 1633 - ha, later, when our country still didn't exist).111.jpg At the end of the street was the most memorable for us under the Green Gate, a pair of accordionists playing Bach. It was so amazing that I purchased the CD. 112.jpgThe bridge across the Motława river finished our tour East as we travelled then North along the banks. I found a WC (toilet) that cost 2 zloty. Now on tour stop #11, The Crane, 5 ton capacity from 1400's with man-sized gerbel wheel. 114.jpgContinuing along the water, we located the philharmonic hall 117.jpgthat is the center of the IHW (International Herpes Workshop - can't wait for the t-shirt). Getting colder with the wind and the cloudy skies, we headed back through the town, not main street, to the hotel. We happened upon a church (turned out to be #22, so what if we skipped 11 others - as I said, big old buildings, mostly churches). We peeked inside, noticed some photography, ventured in, and soon afterward service started. It is the largest cathedral in Poland. 119.jpgThe organ played a bit, and we quickly exited. Not much later we arrived back at the Raddison after Chris nearly had a run-in with a pigeon. Chris slept, I blogged, the sun set. We went downstairs to the bar for a burger and a drink at 10pm, our bodies still not adjusted. Chris went back to practice his talk now that with more Advil he was feeling better. I went downstairs to lounge around and blog some more. I hope today's recollection is worth the read.

Posted by jwhitehurst 15:00 Archived in Poland Comments (5)

Gdańsk - Part Two

Infectious Disease Clinic

sunny 70 °F
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Today started out much like yesterday. Last night was toss and turn for Chris, and I finally decided to get out of bed at 10. I proceeded to try breakfast alone in the restaurant, had some sent upstairs to Chris, then I left. He needed more sleep than I was willing to give myself, so I thought it best to deliver his poster 200.jpgto the Concert Hall for him and discuss his situation with one of the conference managers. The weather was beautifully crisp this morning, but glorious. I found the walk to the Hall refreshing, the staff courteous, and the hall great for his talk. I headed back to the hotel with intentions of catching a cab to the Medical University ER (best medic station). Chris wouldn't have it. He wanted to walk, deliver his PowerPoint presentation, and then get a taxi to the ER. We enjoyed the walk together this time, except for my nerves by this time. He met the same ladies as I had, Zophia and Johanna. They were somewhat eager to leave their Hall duties, so they drove us to (after much deliberation) the Infectious Disease Clinic. 203.jpgAfter 30 minutes, Chris was seen, thoroughly examined, and given a ok bill of health due most probably to a viral infection. The doctor turned out to be one of Johanna's former professors (she is a 6th year med student). They did draw his blood, and we should be getting the results shortly, thanks to Zophia scanning and translating. I was relieved to have this taken care of. The doctor said rest, fluids, and ibuprofen as needed (just what Chris thought). Of course, Chris was going to take it easy. This was our afternoon itinerary at 3:00pm. Traditional Polish Cuisine for lunch204.jpg, ATM cash, Madison Mall to find computer camera card adapter, 208.jpgwalk and ferry to Hall 209.jpgfor welcome reception, and walk back to Hotel by 7:30. Accomplished, and now he is asleep. We even found a car to replace the bug. What a day!213.jpg

Posted by jwhitehurst 13:23 Archived in Poland Comments (2)

Gdańsk - Part Three

Chis Talks!

semi-overcast 61 °F
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This morning I got to sleep in for once. I was happy that Chris felt like having breakfast and leaving for the workshop by 8am. Sleeping in left me to eat alone again, so I may have to wake early for breakfast tomorrow morning just on principle. The rainy morning didn't deter my long stroll to the Philarmonic Hall to meet Chris for break before his talk. I did cut my stroll short though when bars appeared on the store fronts. On my u-turn, I spotted a Polish dollar store and a faux-brick application on a new apartment building (real brick, but only a quarter-inch thick. IMAG0208.jpgIMAG0209.jpg
I arrived a bit early for Chris' talk, heard the previous girl, accidentally turned the volume on my phone all the way up, got embarrassed and left, then finally came back to video Chris. IMAG0214.jpg I was really impressed with ability to answer questions afterwards during allotted time, after the seminar on stage, and in the hall. He went back for one more talk, and I went out to get ready for lunch (standing room only but the salmon and pork in mushroom sauce with roasted bell peppers was worth it). Heeding the doctor's advice, we headed back to town, he to the hotel and I to the train station. Chris wanted most to see the museum of the Crane first, so I caved. IMAG0219.jpgIMAG0223.jpgIMAG0226.jpgIMAG0228.jpgIMAG0231.jpg The museum also housed many 17th century items as did Williamsburg with the 19th century (chairs, tables, candlesticks, pictures, etc.) One thing most interested was the history of artificial fat fake string IMAG0235.jpg After six flights of stairs up around and down, I was insistent of Chris' taking a nap, so I headed off. I really know the map now after going around my butt to get to my nose, but I did eventually end up at the train station. Tickets to Warsaw and Krakow were in my hands; I even stood on the platform to get there, not 9 3/4. On the way back to dinner at the Hall I happened upon the Monument to Those Who Fell for the Polish Character of Gdańsk IMAG0237.jpg commemorating those who faught in the Gdansk massacre of 1308. Dinner was a sit down this time with even more good food (so much for losing inches by walking everywhere). Chris' poster session where he talked with interested colleagues lasted until 9pm, so I decided to treat myself to a piano and oboe concert of Chopin. The lady was amazing. Her fingers in trills resembled that of a hummingbird's wingsIMAG0244.jpg.
9:30 and time to head to a bed. A 10 minute walk, and then I remembered my checked bags in the Hall (slow cool breeze that we both enjoyed.) Now a little after midnight, Chris asleep upstairs and I finishing a log that wouldn't happen otherwise.

Posted by jwhitehurst 14:21 Archived in Poland Comments (1)

Sopot

Dr. Pagano treats

sunny 70 °F
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OK, so I didn't go to breakfast with Chris, but I did enjoy a lighter breakfast by myself. I slept well and wanted to not stuff myself. This morning's walk was going to be around the bars, not through them. I happened upon a small apartment filled with architecture from 1900 ruins to 1980's garden suites. IMAG0247.jpgIMAG0248.jpg. I witnessed recess at a preschool with rudimentary trucks and dolls in an outside field with a rusty gate. After finding one of the few bridges that would lead back across the canal, I ended up at the philharmonic hall, IMAG0249.jpg. After a snack of tasty hard candies (I'll try to pocket some for Ms. Ella and the boys), I had near an hour until lunch, so I proceeded to find one of the few benches in all of old town. Not long after several Hall attendees came to check on me over and over, I realized that a siesta was impossible, but the cool breeze, hot sun, and fountain of water was worth the risk. IMAG0250.jpgIMAG0251.jpg. Lunch had bacon-wrapped (beginning to be unimpressive) chicken, mushrooms and potatoes, green beans, and rice. Chris' boss, Dr. Pagano was along for the meetings last night and today only, so we made plans with him and his wife, Jody. The conference hall rented buses to chauffeur attendees to Sopot, a nearby resort area on the beach of the Baltic Sea. IMAG0260.jpgI made reservations at Bulaj, a restaurant frequented by high heads of state. DSC01897.jpg It wasn't until after we walked from the bus stop to the main square DSC01883.jpg and then back down the coastline that we realized we were already near the restaurant. That's ok, because we got to see the largest wooden pier in Europe, IMAG0262.jpg and the most adorable baby harness ever IMAG0252.jpg. The restaurant served wonderful food and wine and service situated right on what would be dunes in North Carolina. DSC01893.jpg We four sat, chat, and ate for over two hours and enjoyed every minute. DSC01890.jpg The taxi ride home was quicker than the bus that we missed and the walk from thle Pagano's hotel to ours was nice.

Posted by jwhitehurst 14:34 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

One More Day in Gdansk

Malbork

semi-overcast 64 °F
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Chris and I both slept in this morning, and we had breakfast together (finally) at 10am. Chris is feeling better today, especially after the rest. For the time before lunch, while he was in sessions, I souvenir shopped. IMAG0265.jpgIf only the boys were here asking for quarters. I found nice gifts for his labmates and one particular one for Mom (she can probably guess). I enjoyed the shopping and caught the ferry P7270006.jpgto the Hall for lunch. I'll have to get the menu for the meals, as each one had an interesting local dish, aside from normal dry chicken. Today it was some oat, red cabbage and raisins, and goat cheese quiche of sorts. I have tried it all and enjoyed most of it. After lunch Chris and I headed back across by ferryIMAG0271.jpg, picked up a t-shirt for him, of course, and proceeded to walk to the train station. I was going to Malbork to see the world's largest castle, IMAG0283.jpgfrom the Teutonic Knight period of the 13th century. Chris wasn't going to make it back from the train station to hear the talks at 2:00 he wanted, so I left him midcity in hopes that he'd find his way back. I gave him clear directions, and he actually did. I purchased round trip tickets for myself to Malbork, purchased some gum in a grocery/drug store, and waited on the platform 1. IMAG0272.jpgDing-dong, some announcement with the mention of Malbork, and then everyone scuffled. I caught the last running lady, who thank God spoke English a bit, to find out that my train had changed platforms and was leaving in a minute. I made it in time, just like the ferry to Jamestown, Virginia, as I remember. The hour fifteen minute ride was through poor industrial villages, beautiful towns, and farm land. I slept a bit too, and I even found Waldo. IMAG0274.jpgI felt the train stop, start again, and people mention castle. Oops, missed the first stop, but could get the next in town. Had to catch a taxi with a swiss couple (nice share of the price). The castle stretched quite a ways. IMAG0278.jpg The entrance was about $13 and included an ipod in English with a pictoral tour. I was able to make the 3 1/2 hour tour take 45 minutes, missing only 1/4 of the interior roomsIMAG0286.jpg. I was even surprised by a concert by a travelling choir in the courtyardIMAG0288.jpg. The outside gardens IMAG0298.jpg and gates were more impressive to me. The heartbreak was seeing the 13th century cathedral inside ruined from WWII. IMAG0294.jpg What a shame to history! Cutting the tour short, calling a taxi too late, and ending up dashing to the 5:15 train just in time, I was on my way back to Gdansk. After having to purchase an umbrella (bright orange with flowers) from a stand underground, I made it just in time for dinner, again met with some wonderful food, chile con , carne, rice, and a vegetable roll of cabbage. Finally, sitting, not rushed, and enjoying myself. I caught Chris after a conversation, we headed upstairs to the evening poster session, and I enjoyed two nice glasses of beer with cranberry syrup (exactly like that which I fell in love with in Berlin 15 years ago). The walk home was nice, but I was pooped. Great adventure, just wish I were 10 years younger in energy :)IMAG0290.jpg

Posted by jwhitehurst 13:26 Archived in Poland Comments (3)

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