On a bitterly cold weekend in March my best friend Lee and I (on a complete whim) decided to go to Poland for a little city break. After quickly doing some research, we decided on the town of Gdańsk and off we went.
Arriving at the airport we had everything planned, having only 48 hours to explore we wanted fit in as much as possible.
We chose to stay at the Stary Browar Hotel, a renovated brewery still making its own ‘Stary Browar Kościerzyna’ brew today. So obviously a lot of beer was consumed and considering I don’t usually drink it, I acquired quite a taste for their signature wheat beer.
The rooms, whilst set in such an historic building (built in 1856) are modern and cosy combined with the character of the old brewery itself. A fresh fruit basket was provided on arrival along with sparkling water and robes.
Oh course with any holiday be it sun and sea or like ours a little city break, a spa is always a welcome addition. The hotel spa was beautiful and throughout the entire weekend we had it all to ourselves….bonus! Taking our bison grass vodka cocktails to sip whilst chilling in the jacuzzi was pure bliss.
It didn’t end there, oh no! This hotel is famous for a particular experience – THE BEER BATH. Yup you heard right….
So after we not only drank but bathed in copious amounts of Polish beer, it was time to eat! Now the food in Poland wasn’t something I knew too much about but we went and tried everything and it was gorgeous! From traditional Polish potato cream soup to Polish pepper steak, it was all top-notch for any foodies out there.
One of the main reasons we wanted to go to Poland was to visit one of the concentration camps, we went to the Stutthof concentration camp just outside of the main town of Gdansk. It’s something I believe everyone should do. To go to a place so harrowing and see the conditions these people had to endure was quite honestly life changing. The Holocaust was the was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime, it’s something I urge everyone to read, listen, watch and educate themselves about.
The wooden construction of the main gate leading to the old camp. The inmates called it the ‘Death Gate.’ Standing in front of it, newcomers waited to be admitted into the camp. After the registration, the next stage of the ‘welcome ceremony’ took place, a speech by one on the SS officers telling the inmates what was expected of them. The inmates then had all clothes and personal belongings taken away from them and led to a humiliating medical examination.
Approximately 110,000 people went through the camp’s gate 65,000 of which never got to be free again.
As I entered the washrooms there lay some flowers in the basin. There the Jewish, the Poles, the gypsies, homosexuals, disabled and many many more washed away the blood from their whippings, the dirt from their forced labour, and no doubt their tears from the execution of their families, friends and fellow inmates. Drained, indeed. Their bodies hanged, gassed or shot; their memory never washed away. An indescribable and somewhat undefined sadness has crept upon Kate and I after making this visit – lest we forget. “Forgiveness is the perfume that the trampled flower casts back upon the foot that crushed it.” – words by Lee Peart
Lest we forget.
The remainder of our trip we spent exploring the old town of Gdansk. Walking through the cobbled streets it was as though we were being transported back to the middle ages, the stunning architecture and beautiful colours being a personal highlight.
My plan is to book lots of mini city breaks this year, if you have any recommendations of places I should check out then please comment below or come find me on social media!