With our guided walk and visit to St Mary’s Church out of the way we were then given plenty of time to explore Gdańsk on our own (the reason we chose this Princess Cruises excursion).

Normally, we don’t really visit a place with the intention of doing much shopping; our main drive with visiting places is to experience the culture, learn a bit about the history, and – and this may come as a bit of a surprise to you – take a huge amount of photos. However, Poland and the Baltic region just happen to be good sources of amber and my wife just happens to be a keen admirer of jewellery (unique pieces, usually, not diamonds for the sake of it, for instance) and so there was a determination during this part of our excursion to hunt down something specific: cherry amber in a white gold, platinum, or (grudgingly) silver setting; necklace or ring. With the number of amber stalls and shops we’d already passed we felt certain of success in this endeavour.

We began our Gdańsk amber hunt in the Long Market ducking into a number of shops in swift succession and grabbing a few pictures of the area outside between ventures.

The most prominent building along the Long Market on account of its architecture being notably different from that of all the other businesses along the pedestrianised area was the Gdańsk Historical Museum. Were we to return to Poland and to this city this looks like it would be the sort of place we’d like to spend some time inside.

With the places we hit along the Long Market proving fruitless in our continuing search for amber we headed back to Mariacka Street, having already been there during our earlier guided walk. There were few reasons to take photos with pictures already having been taken and we were keen to get through as many stalls and shops as possible. The people were very helpful as we asked after the dark red jewellery my wife wanted and one owner even acted as a translator for another whose English wasn’t great.

Ultimately, however, we decided to call it quits in our shopping quest in Gdańsk. Orange amber was in abundance and while we found a few pieces that were cherry they were either as brooches or with yellow gold. With flights from London to Poland being available for ridiculously low prices we won’t rule out a weekend return to the country at some point and we’d be more than happy to hit Gdańsk again too.

By this time we were hot, hungry, and thirsty so went off in search of something to satisfy our needs. I tried to find something local initially but we were ignored when we went in so left after a few minutes and we ended up back in the Long Market and at something more of a chain called Fahrenheit. We ordered local beers along with burgers and fries (not what I really wanted but I can’t complain about any of it; all very tasty indeed and recommended if you don’t want to dine too local).

We had a little bit of time left before we’d have to meet up with our tour group again so we headed back along the Long Market towards the Golden Gate end. On the way we stopped to look at Neptune’s Fountain, made from bronze and completed in 1633 and designed to have the Roman god of the sea facing where royalty would stay with his head lowered in respect.

I grabbed what photos I could as we headed back to the Green Gate where we would meet our guide and the rest of our group. We were very nearly the last ones back to the meeting point which is unusual for us as we’re typically early but I can blame keeping an eye out for any missed amber shops for that. And not my need to photograph nearly everything we passed.

With everyone gathered together we headed over the bridge and made our way back to the coach, a walk of only about five minutes.

As I’ve mentioned in the first of the Gdańsk articles this was a city that suffered heavy damage during the second world war. We hadn’t realised until back on the coach just how much damage there had been until our guide passed around some before-and-after restoration photos of various buildings we’d seen and in some cases places we assumed were centuries old had been little more than a pile of rubble in 1945. Gdańsk was a lovely city to spend time in and the area inside the gated walls was particularly attractive; a recommended place to visit.

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