To Hel and back

Trip Start Jul 02, 2008
Trip End Sep 22, 2008

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Flag of Poland  , Baltic Coast,
Monday, August 11, 2008

As of Aug. 11, 2008 I can proudly say I have been to Hel. And back.
It was surprisingly easy. I just got on a ferry and was there in less than an hour. Who knew that going to Hel would be so easy.
I am, of course, talking about the Polish town of Hel (spelled with only one L). It's just across the Gulf of Gdansk from Gdansk. But me being into cheesy comedy, I love the fact that I have been there. So many jokes to say. The next time someone tells me to go to hell, I can tell them I have already been and it's actually quite nice.
I could have taken a ferry directly from Gdansk but I decided to check out a small town just north of Gdansk called Gdynia, which is part of the tri-city area with Gdansk and a city called Sopot. Not a lot o see in Gdynia but it has a nice waterfront. In Gdansk the city centre is a distance from the waterfront but a river and canals are nearby. Gdansk is more of a shipyard city, not a beach city.
I had initially tried to get on the water tram to Hel. It only cost 10 zloti (about 2.50 Pounds or $5 Cdn) which is a really good deal considering it takes an hour to get to Hel. But the noon ferry was completely full so I ended up getting a ticket on a boat that was faster but more expensive. So I got to Hel faster (just my style!).
To tell you the truth, Hel is actually quite nice. I may have been in foodie heaven in Gdansk but I think Hel was brilliant.
Of course I have to talk about food (when don't I). In Poland you see signs for Gofry everywhere. Now you maybe wondering why they are telling you to Go Fry but it's actually a sign saying you can get waffles there. Fresh made waffles that you can have toppings such as whipped cream, fruit, chocolate or fruit sauce added to. They are very sweet but you have to have at least one. I have of course had at least one (OK I've had a couple since arriving in Poland). Getting them with fruit (which usually comes in a very sweet sauce) is good but I have discovered they are a very difficult thing to eat without looking a bit foolish. You try to bit it but get whipped cream on your nose and face. So I say just embrace it and look like a fool.
They also have these things called zapiekanki in Poland. Basically it's simple pizza toppings (tomato sauce, mushrooms and cheese) on a long bread roll that is baked in the oven. Great for a takeaway meal.
After my great day in the sunshine in Hel (who knew there was sunshine in Hel!) it was back to Gdynia then Gdansk. Finished up the day with another delicious kielbasa.
The festival in Gdansk, along with brilliant food, also meant outdoor activities such as cinema under the stars. Was brilliant to be able to sit outside and take in a movie. Even if it was dubbed into Polish very badly. Bad dubbing means one person does all the speaking parts. For instance, one of the films I and a couple of people from the hostel watched was The Others with Nicole Kidman. Every speaking part was done by one man, including Nicole Kidman's and those of the children in the film. I have already seen the movie so I didn't really need to hear it to know what was happening but one thing I noticed is that just barely underneath the Polish dubbing you could hear the original English version.
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