Speeding along Poland's new highways and enjoying great weather.
Day 15 - Drive from Prague to Warsaw
We began the day knowing it would be the longest drive of the trip. We alternated between Poland's new autostradas and tiny little two lane roads full of farm equipment. It's easy to drive around 90-100 mph on the highways. So fast! The new Polish highways often have tall walls on each side. I've never seen a highway walled in for so long. The walls have an unknown purpose. Noise control, wind, aesthetics, fewer distractions for drivers?
We happened to drive right by the town of Boleslawiec which is famous for its beautiful ceramics. I was able to buy several pieces to bring home at discount prices! I have always loved these popular blue dishes so I was in heaven with so many choices at great prices.
The kids in car mode. They were mostly quite good the entire trip. We are starting to put up with more bickering. I think they are getting a little tired of each other.
We continued our long drive with a quick stop for lunch. We were so excited to finally arrive in Warsaw to see our friends that we haven't seen in ages! Their little boy "J" is almost two and so much fun. The girls were quickly big fans and a great help.
We enjoyed dinner at their lovely home, catching up and getting some rest before checking out Warsaw tomorrow.
Day 16 - Warsaw
I began the day with a run around a couple of nearby parks. Thank goodness the GPS works on my iPhone or I'd still be running around Warsaw! The city is huge and I did not have my bearings yet.
Our friend "big J" took us to their favorite little cafe for coffee and pastry. Delicious!
We took a bus down to the old town, walked the royal walk, climbed a church tower, and had lunch in the new town. Warsaw was completely rebuilt after being leveled in WWII. I found the rebuilt areas really nice and easy to navigate with fewer crowds.
This hosted many of the 2012 Euro Cup matches.
DD#2 was more than excited to run into a rollerblading panda!
A famous palm tree on Jerusalem Street, lazing away on the royal away, Chopin's heart, and Copernicus Statue!
Kid fun - sprinklers, chasing pigeons, eating pierogi - all with a view!
We really enjoyed our day checking out Warsaw.
Before dinner, we checked out a local waterpark complete with three very awesome waterslides without lines. Woopee! Again, they didn't allow pictures so I'm using one I found online.
We had a blast on the slides and might check the place out again before we leave. Big J and R (our good friends) took us out to one of their favorite restaurants in a pretty park. We had great grilled meal outside with a fun play area for kids. Another very relaxing meal.
Day 17 - Drive to Gdansk via Torun
We awoke to more sun, had coffee and pastries at another great place, and began our journey to Gdansk. Gdansk is a large city on the Baltic Sea with wonderful architecture and history. Luckily, most of the roads were autostradas so we made great time.
We stopped in the University town of Torun for lunch and to look around. The town is known for its fabulous gingerbread. I bought lots to bring home. Yummy! We ate at a recommended pierogi place that served baked, fried, or boiled pierogi. The grocery stores have entire pierogi sections. It's quite the cuisine around here.
You can buy soft contact lenses on the drugstore shelf!
Here is one of the many gingerbread shops:
Torun had a lovely town center and was a nice way to break up the 3.5 hour drive to Gdansk.
We arrived in Gdansk and found our apartment in a residential part of town not too far from the city center. Our friends met us around dinner time. We were feeling lazy and ordered pizza to be delivered. Actually, the apartment manager helped us order since we can barely speak a word in Polish. It's a really difficult language. The kids played in the small playground in the backyard and we made plans for our time in the Gdansk area.
Day 18 - Sopot Beach and Gdansk
I began the day with a great run through Gdansk. Once again, I was extra thankful for my iPhone and Google maps. We had plenty of groceries and an awesome coffee machine for breakfast in the apartment. We took our two cars to the nearby town of Sopot for beach fun and lunch. The water was actually warm in the Baltic Sea! DD#1 seemed particularly excited to swim in a new ocean. Lots of Polish people seemed just as excited for a sunny day to enjoy the lovely beach. It was crowded but still very pleasant.
We enjoyed a simple lunch in Sopot after walking down the main pedestrian drag.
DD#2 and I walked to the top of a historic lighthouse for some great views of the area, I love trekking to the top of any tower in any town but the rest of my family isn't quite as enthused. I was glad to have one taker for this short trip up some stairs.
We drove back to Gdansk and took a bus to the city center for a great al fresco dinner on a lovely street. The bus is still a novelty for us.
The weather was rather hot today and we were worn out. Kids are all crashing later than usual - so are the adults. We are enjoying being with great friends who are fantastic travel companions.