Poland – Baltic Sea Resort
Interview with Mike about his travels to Poland
Eileen: So what brought you to Europe?
Mike: My company wanted a cost effective location to conduct series of service meetings and as a global company, after of comparing the costs and amenities of different locations, Poland came out on top.
Initially, we were going to stay closer to one of our offices in Gdynia, which is of more of a commercial area and near a major company site, however local team members advised us that another town about an hour’s drive north of their location would be a better site and excellent resort was located to host our event.
Eileen: Where did you stay and what was the best feature or benefit you liked about this hotel?
Mike: The resort (hotel, spa, and family vacations) was Dom Zdrojowy in Jastarnia. It is right off the Baltic Sea, and has a 50-100 yard wide white sand beach that makes a tone when you walk across it almost like it’s singing to you (with one note). The resort has a spa with a full set of services, including a pool and anything else you might expect from a spa. If there’s even a Tarzan climbing area with ladders and ropes between trees, with different obstacles if you are so inclined. Other walking areas provide beach access from number of different locations. From the hotel it’s a quick 75 to 100 yard walk to the beach on a brick path. There’s an outdoor pavilion next to the beach just off the path that serves refreshments and has an eating area. Even though the resort is right next to the town, there’s a landscaping area and train track that runs between them, so you get the feeling of being separated from the town but it is a very easy walk to restaurants.
Eileen: What was your favorite polish meal?
Mike: Our last night in Jastarnia, at Weranda Ogrodnica, a 1-2 minute walk from the resort, I had the Kashubian Goose with Plum and Red Cabbage sauce. It was amazing, and everyone else who ordered the goose seemed equally pleased. The salmon was enjoyed as well, but those who had the goose were louder. I got to share the meal with two members of the team from Germany, two from Switzerland, one of my team members from North Carolina, and a Texan. Desert was ice cream that actually tasted like cream.
But at the meals hosted in the resort’s restaurant, of which included breakfast and lunch served buffet style, with two dinners with service, the soups stood out. I don’t know what they put into them, but wow, what a taste.
Eileen: What stood out the most about Poland that you didn’t expect?
Mike: I expected very dense population areas with lots of buildings throughout the entire area, but on the drive back, and the flight over the area on the return, there appear to be a large number of family farms, with small villages every once in a while. It was very pretty, and going in the middle of May, the sun set at around 8:15 and rose around 4:15AM.
Eileen: What were the Polish people like and what did you find interesting?
Mike: Pleasant, smart, and they love Americans (and mostly speak English). I saw more American flag t-shirts in Poland than you would see nearly anywhere else, except at a 4th of July celebration in the US. They love Don’t Mess with Texas t-shirts. And it’s understood, they have persevered through numerous external invasions and we stood ready against common enemies, though some have disappeared or changed. Through it all, the Poles I met maintain a positive attitude, looking at today and tomorrow, on what they have.
Eileen: What sites did you see and which did you like best?
Mike: Since it was a corporate meeting, I did not get a chance to travel outside of the town while I was there, but did enjoy walking on the beach by the Baltic Sea one morning. Even though it still was cooler at night, it was very mild during the day. Being outside at the beach in the morning or evening, slightly out of season was great, not at all crowded. One other member of the team stopped at Malbork Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and took a tour and a ton of pictures, learning the history of the site and with it, some of the history of the region. As a history buff he really enjoyed it. Another was going to take a slower path and tour Oslo, Norway on the way, but had to cancel at the last minute for a family emergency.
Eileen: What sights did you not see that you would have like to visit?
Mike: The Solidarity Monument and museum to commemorate the Polish resistance to Soviet occupation. That event, along with a number of other factors (such as a persistent American presence), eventually led to the end of the Cold War. Since I was stationed in Germany when The Wall fell, and had even won a trip to Berlin that week – handing it off to someone else because of a scheduling conflict, I would love to see this.
Eileen: What are your recommendations and suggestions for those who are thinking of visiting Poland?
Mike: Get a sleeping mask if travelling during the summer – the sun sets late and rises early and it’s quite a surprise if you are not prepared. Work with a travel agent who will learn what you like and advise you. There are layovers involved in getting to the resort and if extended just a little can let you see additional sites, such as Copenhagen, Oslo, Frankfurt, or Munich. Knowing what you can do during layovers requires some planning on how you are going to get there. After a while it gets complicated.
Eileen: Would you recommend coming to Poland for a vacation?