From the Hotel Nadmorski in Gdynia, I walked a mile to the nearest train station (Gdynia Wzgórze św. Maksymiliana) and bought a ticket on the SKM line to Sopot. The trains run every ten minutes or less. It's nothing fancy, but it's a remarkably cheap (about 55 cents) and convenient way to get around. I used my iPhone to track the train's position on Google Maps to make sure I didn't miss my stop, about fifteen minutes down the line.
From the station, it's a little less than a mile to the beach. All along the way, there are a series of beautiful parks and tree-lined boulevards bordered by fancy mansions and immaculate gardens. It's apparent there's a lot of money in Sopot, and it's unlike any other town I saw in Poland. Near the core, the main streets have been converted into pedestrian ways, and there's a large selection of high-end shops and restaurants.
I sought out the traditional treats for lunch, including zapiekanka (pizza baguette) and pivo (beer), followed by a lody (ice cream). The Poles love their lody. There's a stand or two on every block and seemingly every other person has a cone in-hand. The Poles also love a shot of fruit syrup in their beer. I tried a shot of raspberry in mine and it was actually pretty good.
After lunch, I walked along the crowded beach in front of the Grand Sofitel Spa and Resort. Apparently, this is the hot spot for Europe's elite when they want to play and tan on the Baltic. And when it comes to tanning, the Poles are not shy about their bathing suits. Despite their Catholic principles and Northern European complexion, skimpy is the rule. Unfortunately, this applies to the Polish men too.
Sopot is also famous for having the longest pier in Europe. There's an entry fee (about $1) to walk on it. The views are nice, and there are vendors and restaurants along the way. You can also board a fast jet boat or a touristy pirate ship at the end of the pier.
After spending a few hours exploring Sopot, I continued on the train line to Gdańsk, enjoying the evening light and dinner there before finally turning around to return to Gdynia.
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