First a bit of Gdańsk background. Began life in the 7th century as a fishing hamlet. 997 the inhabitants christened, marking the year of foundation. 1308 attacked by the Teutonic Knights who built Malbork Castle (an astonishing sight from the train). Joined the Hanseatic League in 1361, a rich seaport and a centre of trade, attracting Germans, Poles, Dutch, Russians, Jews and Scots. Knights defeated in 1410. Became Prussian in 1772 in the First Partition and renamed Danzig. Freed by Napoleon. Back into Prussian hands in the Partition of 1815. After WW1 becomes a free city to sort out German and Polish claims, with Gdynia becoming the Polish corridor. 1930s the free city comes under Nazi control. WW 2 begins with an attack at Westerplatte. Slaughter of Polish intelligentsia. What’s left seized by the Russians in 1945. Shipyard strikes in 1970s. 1980 Solidarity calls a general strike. Communism collapses!
My introduction to the beauties of Gdańsk was the railway station, a grand eye-catching brick building. There was no Łódź drama finding my accommodation, and beautifully central it is too. I’ve seen neither a tram nor a bus, unless you count the ferry tram. And the taxi drove me straight to the Happy 7 Hostel (yes. That’s what it’s called!)
Contrary to my usual custom I’m not walking at daybreak, and it shows. People everywhere. However the city is a photographer’s feast, almost excessively so, and if I get a chance I’ll be back for a 5 am stroll, when I’ll be more selective. For my reconnaissance, I walked along the Motława and into ul Długa, my eye drawn by gates (the Green Gate, the Huckster’s Gate, the Breadsellers Gate), doors, facades and rooflines, a splendid fountain, a medieval crane rebuilt after WW2, and miscellaneous bits and pieces. Stroll with me and have a look round.