Day 0: Train from Kraków to Gdańsk: I think I'm in love with sleeper trains. Endless farmyard snowscapes, makes me miss Wyeth.
That afternoon: Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers, followed by the Road to Freedom exhibition. There's an armored car covering the door, go downstairs into a concrete bunker.
Polish Months: June 1956, massive protests against the Communist government out down by tanks. March 1968, widespread student strikes coinciding with the Prague Spring suppressed by security forces. December 1970, Price increases trigger strikes in the Baltic cities, brutally put down by the army killing 42 of their own citizens. September 1980, the birth of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in a Soviet-bloc country? December 1981, ostensibly to preempt the Soviet army coming in to straighten things out, General Jaruszelski imposes Martial Law, declaring a state of war exists in his own country, that lasts for eighteen months. In round table talks between the government and Solidarity, initiated to forestall economic chaos, lead to semi-free elections, and in September the first non-communist government in 40 years is voted into office by the Sejm. What a story. And there's other stuff in there too. What a museum.
Day 1: in the morning get up early to take the train to Malbork castle, the seat of power for the Teutonic Knights, who came back from the Crusades with enough money to run this part of the world from 1200 to 1350. Biggest brick castle on the world. The grounds are open but all the rooms are closed cause it's Monday, boo! Colder than hell in there too. For lunch in the town had spaghetti pizza, which was unexpectedly quite good [and memorable, two weeks later we're still talking about it].
In the afternoon found the bus out to Westerplatte, scene of the first shots fired in WWII. A little island just past the entry to the port of the free city of Gdańsk, where 200 doughty Poles held off a superior German force for seven days, a force that included a battleship that stood twenty yards offshore firing it's guns into the bunkers. Really nice to be able to walk the whole island and read about it, excellent exhibition, inspiring. Best part of the day.