For my first weekend get away from Lebork I decided to explore a strange peninsula that I always found interesting on maps of Poland. This peninsula is the Hel peninsula and on maps of Poland it looks very skinny, almost to the point where if the Baltic sea level rose just slightly then the peninsula would turn into an island. The train ride looked like it was only going to take 2 or so hours to get there with one transfer, so I figured: 'why not?'
I booked my train tickets to get to Hel and back. I left Saturday morning very early and got to Hel at about 9 a.m. I checked-in to my small guest room, got a map of the town, and began exploring. Hel was a very nice town and reminded me of some seaside resorts that exist in America. At first I did not want to seeme like a 'stuipd tourist', but then I realized that just about everyone in the town was a stupid tourist so I might as well embrace it. I started with a walk around town and the pier. Then I went to the fokarium and watched the seals there as they performed tricks and received fish for when they performed well. After the fokarium it was straight to the Fisherman's museum for me. The museum exhibits were well made and I learned a lot about the fishing history of Hel and the surrounding region. After this I stopped for a coffee and Gofr.
Feeling refreshed from my snack and coffee I walked the 1 km out of town to see the museums about the defense of Hel and the peninsula during WWII. The museums were well made and I again learned a lot. There are many old battlements and artillery batteries in and around Hel and I saw a few of these throughout the day. It was about dinner time and since I was in Hel and near the sea I figured that fish was the obvious choice. I tried a very tasty fish soup and ate herring in the Kashubian style. After dinner I went to the very tip of the peninsula and watched the sunset there. Since, I was on vacation I thought a beer would be good. I went to a local restaurant and saw on the menu that they had a beer with cherries. This sounded good to me and I did not think much about it when I ordered it. However, the beer came out with a straw actualy cherries in the bottom of it. This was very different from what I thought it would be. You see, I had translated poorly from Polish to English because in English when we say a beer is 'with' something it usually means that the beer is brewed or made with that ingredient. So, I thought I was ordering a beer that would have cherry flavor, not actual cherries in it. However, I had already bought the beer so there was nothing left to do but drink it. Although I would not order it again, I must admit that the beer with cherries was not that bad.
Sunday morning came and I was anxious to get my day started. I saw the lighthouse in Hel, got a coffee, picked up some food for the day, and began my journey of walking along the peninsula. I planned to walk from Hel to Chalupy. I looked at this on the map and the distance said only 25 km. Now, I knew that 1 Km was less than one mile. So, I figured that it would be a nice walk and would not take me that long. I was wrong. The walk took all day, and although the scenery was nice I was very very happy when I finally reached Chalupy. Once there I only had about an hour before I had to catch my train. So I sat on the beach and looked out at the vast expanse of the Baltic Sea. I caught my train and was happy that I did not walk anymore during the day. After an uneventful train ride I was back in Lebork and happy that my exciting weekend was over. Hel was a great time and it certainly was no Hell, but walking 25 Km in one day was more of an undertaking than I thought it would be.
Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan David was raised by his parents with his two sisters and brother.