A travel blog with a splash of lifestyle

Thursday, 21 July 2016

DITCH THE CITY AND CATCH YOUR BREATH FOR THE DAY - VISITING SOPOT


When visiting Gdansk, we had the pleasure of knowing somebody who lived in Sopot. As a consequence, we of course hopped on a train and visited. What did we expect? A cute small seaside town a little bit like Brighton in the UK? Well yes, it was a little bit like that, however, it did exceed out expectations and was stunning. The area is evidently more wealthy than Gdansk with a lot more greenery and nature. Living here would be wonderful. Although it was your 'typical seaside town' the architecture was gorgeous and when you're in a city it's lovely to have a break away for a while. However, here I am basically going to explain how easy it is to get here from Gdansk (assuming you're going to go there as why not?! I've already explained why its amazing and super affordable here). I also want to encourage you to do your research before you go away on other trips, just so you have the opportunity to visit other lesser-known locations nearby to famous cities. This is because, honestly, you could really be missing out.
Also apologies for the kind-of-poo-photos, my camera unfortunately died the day before and to top it all off, the majority of the time I left my iPhone on 'square' mode...greaaaat. Even so I hope this post is helpful and nice to look at ;)


Planning how to get yourself there
In our case, we already knew in advance that you could easily walk up to the station and get a ticket extremely easily and cheaply. However, I did quickly look up on google how to do it and there is lots of advice online everywhere. For most destinations you can easily type in 'how to get to...from...' and you'll get results. Tourist information centres will also be more than happy to help you find a way to get from a to b and in addition, they'll probably recommend a few places outside the city you are in too.

The ticket has no destination on it, just the amount of money I have paid to travel. I can only go as far as Sopot on this train. The stamp on the right shows when and where I validated the ticket for this journey.
Here all we had to do was grab a train from Gdansk Glowny (the central station) to Sopot. The train was caught from platform three and the final destination was Gydnia - another lovely city near to Gdansk that's good for a break away. Tickets can be purchased from many places throughout the station, but just make sure you validate before you get on board! The tickets you purchase are not for specific destinations, but rather you are paying for the distance you travel. The reason for validation is to show the day/time you are travelling, and where. Just so the staff know you are not hopping on and off anywhere anytime - otherwise you will be fined! All countries and cities have different policies and different ways of running their public transport - Always research the rules and costs before you travel anywhere. I once forgot to validate my ticket in Italy going from Pisa to La Spezia on the train and I only realised when I had got on! Fortunately nobody caught me but for the whole hour journey I was very anxious indeed!


Now time to Wander!
Again, I am pointing out how fortunate we were to have a wonderful friend take us around. We did not have to face the hassle of working out where to go or finding the directions to certain areas. However in situations like this, you can do one of two options: plan yourself a well organised day to see absolutely everything you wish, or just simply wander and take in your surroundings. I honestly like to do a bit of both, and in this case everything was planned but I personally had no idea what was coming next! Although I would advise to always have some idea of what you would like to do or see, especially if the place you are visiting is big and not easy to navigate. Sopot here was quite small and easy to navigate though, so it honestly depends on where you are.



So what exactly is there to do in Sopot itself?
As I've previously mentioned, Sopot is a seaside town. However it does have it's unique quirks. The whole area feels very 'polished' and the architecture is quite classic but still very clean and fresh. Again as I've described Gdansk, it's your typical seaside town, but with Eastern European vibes (especially with the red roofs!) The town itself is home to many beautiful buildings, shops and restaurants (including a 'Wedel' Chocolate cafe!) However the selling points are the resorts (like the Sheraton), the seaside and the pier. They are all beautiful. 




Although there aren't countless things to do here in Sopot like in Gdansk, it is wonderful to catch your breath and calm down. Being surrounded by nature, but not feeling completely isolated from people whilst away is something to be enjoyed. You're still immersed in the country's culture, but now you can take things at your own pace without feeling like you're missing out. This is why I always advise people to take a trip out of the city they are visiting to 'slow down'. For instance in Tokyo I took a morning out of the city to visit a mountain (Mt Takao) to be surrounded by shrines, temples and nature. Not only does it give you time to breathe, but it also adds variety to your trip. More things to enjoy, more things to remember. (Plus another place to tick off of your list ;) )




Overall as you can see my small trip out of the city was great! Unfortunately only a minority of visitors to Gdansk make this trip, and fewer visit Gdynia which is even more northwards. I encourage you on your next trip to have a look if there is anything of interest outside of the city you are visiting. Of course in many cases there might not be anything exciting nearby or costs and travel hold you back. You don't have to venture outside of the city for the sake of it, but in many places there will be hidden gems everywhere and leaving the city might be a wise idea. 

Trust me if you find somewhere that spikes your interest, please go. You will throughly enjoy yourself and be glad that you did something out of the ordinary. It doesn't have to be mindblowingly different, nor do you have to follow the crowd. Just do your thing, but always try your best to make the most of your trip away. Remember you are paying airfare and you do not visit many destinations often, make the most of your time there <3


Useful links:
Rome2rio - A great site for planning journeys on public transport throughout Europe :)


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