We sometimes call it The 4th of July but what we actually celebrate is Independence Day. It has been fun to experience other cultures but we wouldn’t trade being an American for anything.
The freedom that our forefathers fought for is relatively new in Poland. The Polish are very emotional when they talk of their history. “We have one history; we cannot choose it…like parents.”
Gdansk had been destroyed by war. What were they to do? They have three choices for the old town:
1. Raze everything and build a new city.
2. Leave it as an ugly reminder of the horrors of war.
3. Reconstruct the city representative of it’s best years – the 16th/17th centuries. This is what they chose. Seventy percent of houses have been beautifully reconstructed to that period. For example, a building might say: Built in 1637; Reconstructed in 1957.
Gdansk has made such progress, however, we were disheartened to learn from a display in the main square that the Mayor of Gdansk, Paweł Adamowicz, had been assassinated this January. He sounded like an outstanding mayor. He will be missed.
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit is one of Gdansk notable citizens. The only places that use the Fahrenheit temperature measurements are the United States, the Bahamas, Belize, the Cayman Islands, and Liberia. (I wonder how they told the temperature prior to this invention? “It’s hot out there.”)
I am sure that Europeans don’t think he is a big deal since they use the Celsius system devised later by a Swede named Anders Celsius. Our guide said that they use Celsius because…”Well, it’s just easier.”
Not only is there a monument with a replica of his mercury thermometer, there is a Farenheit Hotel. We hope that the temperature in there is just right. There must be a lot of pressure on the staff.
I was swinging on a street pole waiting for our walking tour and a guide trying to drum up tourist business accused me of pole dancing. Ha!
He told me that they don’t get many American tourists in Poland. It is about 30% German, 30% UK, 12% Scandanavia.
One thing that I noticed is that Poles are quick to stand in line. It must be a throwback from the days of Communism.
We ate at a restaurant with an elevated porch so we could see what it was to dine like wealthy merchants.
They give you a small dessert before the meal to stimulate your appetite. I LOVE this. If given the chance, I ALWAYS eat dessert before dinner…just in case the rapture occurs during the meal!
We were served an amazing olive oil for our bread that was delicious. The waitor shared the recipe:
2nd press of olive oil
Green stalks of fresh and finely chopped green onion
Blend at 30°C.
The speaker above our outdoor table played Diana Ross music all night!
Poland celebrates Name Day as opposed to birthdays. It is for the Saint that you are named after. For example, Julianna is celebrated on Jan 9. Perhaps it could be ANOTHER day to celebrate for my daughters birthdays.
Our triplet daughters were born on their sister’s birthday on April 8. We celebrate that day as a family. We also celebrate a special day to call their own which we selected as the day that they came home from the hospital. We call that their “special” day. Now we can add name day!!
(Apparently, I am out of luck on that one since there aren’t any saints named Brenda. Rob is not surprised that there have been five saints named Robert. Four of those celebrations have taken place this year. Only July 18 remains. I asked Rob what he wanted for Name Day. Traditionally, vodka is given!!
We left Gdansk and traveled to Torún, the childhood home of Nicholas Copernicus. His Opus Magnum was the Heliocentric Theory. With very modern technology, we learned about his then theory based on mathematics showed that the earth revolved around the sun.
His theory was never accepted in his lifetime. The church taught that everything including the Sun revolved around the earth, since earth was God’s creation. Copernicus’ idea was deemed dangerous by the church. Even Galileo was imprisoned for heresy.
Torùn also has the ruins of a Teutonic Knights castle. One hundred twenty castles were built. This castle was attacked by the town’s people. Perhaps they used catapults such as these.
The placards said that they would send over bees nests (biological warfare), putrid meat (chemical warfare), incendiary projectiles (fire), and even heads of defenders (psychological warfare). All of these are weapons of mass destruction.
We went on an after dark scary dungeon tour and saw lots of torture devices and chasity belts for women AND men. At one point, a lady handed me the torch!
We didn’t understand a word of it but a torture device screams a thousand words!!