My friends are envious of my “glamorous” life. I love being a travel writer, and my life is certainly filled with fun and adventure, but it’s hardly glamorous. It’s often difficult. I’m currently on a one-month trip taking me through Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Poland. I’ve been on planes, trains, buses, vans, trams, cars, taxis and Uber. I’ve had delays, cancellations, near misses running to catch a train, drivers who never showed up, schlepped luggage through cobblestone streets, crammed into standing room only public transportation, and it’s not over. I’ve spent days in airports waiting for my canceled flight to be rebooked, standing in under-staffed lines for 3 hours.
It Can Happen to Anyone
In Ukraine, my beloved new Samsung smartphone was pickpocketed while I was climbing a crowded narrow spiral staircase to get a sunset photo on the terrace of a popular restaurant. I’m a savvy traveler, and I research “travel scams” for whatever destination I’m traveling to, but this particular scenario wasn’t listed as a problem. I had to go to three different police stations, starting at 11 pm, to file a report to open an investigation. I was so thankful to be on a JayWay Travel tour because I had to have a witness (Petra, the JayWay videographer) and interpreter (Katia, the JayWay Destination Guide) because none of the officers spoke English. The two of them, and my friend Alison helped me through the ordeal.
I never unpack because I seldom stay 2 nights in the same hotel. I’ve had motion sickness and a mild (thank God!) case of travelers diarrhea. I’ve had several 16-hour work days, after which I returned to my hotel room, checked emails, download and edited photos for social media before going to sleep, never before midnight.
Today, after yet another delayed flight, I arrived in Gdansk and checked into the Hanza Hotel, a boutique hotel in the old town section. I opened the door and a smile swept across my face as I was greeted by a spacious suite, with French doors leading into the bedroom.
As a former interior designer, I immediately fell in love with the quirky décor. I mean, who wouldn’t want a chiseled Neptune standing guard ready to dispatch any bad dreams?
And the views over the streets of old town from both the bedroom and living area are fantastic.
More Than Just a Room
For dinner, I had to go no further than the terrace of my hotel which overlooked the canal, currently lined with colorful vendor stalls celebrating the Festival of St. Dominic. I surprised myself by ordering simple roasted chicken, highly unusual for me because I’m not overly fond of chicken, but I couldn’t fathom the thought of more of the “authentic” – hearty-but-heavy food I’d been fed over the last few weeks in Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Poland. I simply cannot eat another dumpling/pierogi/varenyky or potato pancake or a pork/beef filet swimming in thick, creamy gravy. I’m not saying those things aren’t tasty, just that a little goes a long way and I’ve had to eat more than I’d like. My current chicken was crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and served over tastily prepared green beans and potato puree. It was delicious.
As darkness fell, I returned to my room, where I immediately filled the gigantic tub with water and slipped into it, soaking for an hour before wrapping myself in the fluffy white robe provided – the first one on this trip. Sure, I still have an hour or so of work to do before I can sleep, but my soul is refreshed anew and I’m looking forward to exploring Gdansk tomorrow, knowing I’ll return to Hanza, the best place to stay in Gdansk, for another night – a rare treat.
Many thanks to JayWay Travel for spoiling me yet again! Stay tuned for more about my extraordinary visit to Gdansk!
Disclosure: The author was honored to be the guest of JayWay Travel during her stay in Poland, but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.