Tag Archives: Gdańsk

Gdansk Revisited


The smell, I could live here! In Krakow you always fell like a tourist, in Warsaw even worse – I thought after long five hours in the train from Wroclaw to Gdansk. Someone mentioned a seaside during the party, hence five drunk students found themselves with a dog in the midst of a February cold and gray morning in ’96. The seagulls screamed mournfully, first pedestrians passed the streets as shadows, while we were waking up the whole city by knocking the sidewalks with our martens and barking the dog around. Alcohol remains in veins slowly gave a way to blood cells.
I grabbed the phone booth and insured by dorm mates I was alive and would be back by midnight.
From Gdansk we moved to thick fogs of Sopot, where we tried to spot the ships, tankers or whatever was sailing there, while sipping cold beer on a cold and wet sand in that milky fog moving towards us over the water surface… After long day of hanging around everyone dreamt about a piece of floor, but the next train compartment was chosen by a gypsy camp. In few minutes we were all singing and dancing ore ore hey amore…The bitch got its cap filled with beer and slept till Wroclaw.

Many years later the rough sea took me from Wroclaw Islands and casted away on the suburbs of Gdansk, which I cherish with difficult and ambivalent love. After eleven years in Wroclaw traffic jams this short walk from home to the office neutralized all suburban disadvantages but isolation. How long can you stare at the grassland, forest and landing airplanes? I felt raising emotional tension which found its relief in Internet, to which I was eventually connected after two years of overtures. The first blog was an ephemeral warm-up as the emotional explosion took place three years ago, when the elected stories spark reached the observer’s volatile cloud of senses.


Since I was a child there were stories written in hand made few-pages-books, illustrated and distributed among our neighbors in Raciborz. By the end of primary school we were publishing the first-ever school newspaper. We marched under DADA banner carrying the flame of happenings. We carried it to the high school, where each edition of Wejscie Ewakuacyjne (transl. Evacuation Entrance) was thoroughly studied by our appalled teaching staff. New released stream of freedom blossomed with school newspapers across the whole country. Our one was growing till final exams, then came a few years drought, ended up luckily with an Internet flood. All diaries, memoirs, letters, postcards and other analogs where discarded. Starting my web journey with simple mailing lists and first literary portals I never thought of a port called Blog. Until today and each time I click the publish button I have creeps. Fortunately you can correct at any moment. Besides there are still notebooks, inspiring to comparisons and analysis, allowing to notice the changes and trends flashing in front of your eyes. Also at those climatic changes- just take my recent stay in Krakow as an example. I left the plane fresh but after few deeper inhales I suddenly felt a strong pain in my chest. After another dreamless night I already knew that smog’s and dragons are not for me, I am a Northern Man! I dreamed about Baltic waters, to be swished by the sea wind when driving my bike to the beach (when it happens I never forget to share my status with my fb brothers and sisters. Revenge for those outdoor temperature screenshots from Wroclaw!)

I absorb Gdansk with all my senses and pour it over the fields of Internet wasteland. I feel the cod fish taste, hear the thunder storm or Oliva tram creeking, smell the Matarnia forest, fell the sand of Stogi beach in my eyes, hear the seagull’s crying all night and day.
My friends say – you’ve made it, we have a beach base! And in that base all possible beaching sets from set A with blankets, swimming sits or without it to full scale Z sets with tents, wind screens, mattresses, dolphins… It happens that after a week on Croatian stones my friends come straight to the Bay of Gdansk, where the sand is soft, the water is not itchy and there is no need for a shower after bath.

When the vacations are over my car is my pain. I prefer tram, bus or city train wandering over traffic, parking or garage. In such way I fill my city life with meaning when I can observe and talk to people at the same time. While stretching our legs with my dog we allow the timetable to carry us away into the future…


Sipping a cup of coffee on the terrace admiring the Spring sunrise. Down there in front of me I see the waves of Żuławy Bay slowly washing the feet of the Rabbit bastion. Further away the herds of floundering migratory birds. I finish both coffee and the manuscript, which my shy new neighbor gave to me yesterday in the elevator.
I look at the temperature and its 68 F a bit cold for the beginning of March so I put on a jacket and leave. There is a selfbus arriving right in front of my house so I step in and it takes me and few other sleepy passengers in silence and without traffic straight to the Newport Island.
Behind the bridge connecting Wrzeszcz and Letnica (its hard to believe that just ten years ago the water was reaching only Brzezno!) I get off in front of an office building, where the last floor is taken by our publishing house. From its windows you can see the New City on one side and the Bay on the other. There is already hard work happening, frying covers, forged fonts, the authors and editors bent over their corrections. I pass the room where the old treasures of literature are rediscovered, bringing back to life the forgotten writers. Then I enter a spacious room with a glass wall on one side which opens to the water. Editorial Board help themselves with a coffee and hot croissants and then we start to decide which cover to choose for Dorota Maslowska’s eight novel. Later on we will discuss the plan for 2030. I’ll wait with the surprise till end of the meeting. Before that I remind them about our agents who have found in the dark abyss of literary coal mines four diamonds. We just need to polish them and the sparklers can fight for the readers. We dreamed of the country, maybe Europe, but the whole World? Since the European government set the book market free and Poodle issued a simultaneous translation tool our authors are in constant demand. Have a look at the event department, they are like a travel office!
If you add to this the recent Polish reading records our friends from Sweden, France or Czech Republic are far behind us while our book market is growing like a weed! We will bake a good cake of it with a cherry on top!

Silence please, I would like to present you something which we have been working on for the last three years together with TriCity Institute of Technology. I open my bag and take a 300 pages A5 format out and I touch its cover menu choosing The Doll by Boleslaw Prus. The font size adjusts automatically in order not to leave empty pages. I open the book and pet its self-fusing pages feeling real paper under my fingertips. I admire the pictures when they smoothly turn into animation. This book is living and we will launch its 4.0 version next Spring. Booker. Revolution approaching.

What is a home?

Yesterday was a long day in a train.  Speed train, recently delivered Pendolino. Comfortable trip from the North to the South of Poland. Within 8 hours instead of 13 just few months ago. I was coming home.  Raciborz, my first home till I was 19 years old. Then it changed into Wroclaw for another 13 years to continue with Gdansk for the recent 6… Between each home certainly there was a period of a blurred limbo when neither the new one nor the old one where my real homes.

What defines a home? When this particular feeling starts to grow and develop in your heart or mind or both? Is it when you make your first friend in the new place or is it just the first fire at the chimney? Is it the unpacking of your books on new shelves or baking first apple pie in the new oven?

I was desperately looking forward to leave Raciborz and start new life in Wroclaw. I left my first home with a bunch of high school friends making the landing as soft as possible. So it was soft, indeed. In the warm arms of the biggest city on Odra river, Silesian capital city, I felt home when after my first year two of my best friends came to the city to live and continue their studies and I had the chance to show them what I already loved there, all the cheap beer bars, great dance floors, open till mornings afterparty dives and evergreen parks and river islands…

After 13 years, when the date of move to Gdansk was getting closer I started my farewell through never ending friend night talks, old city wanderings, river bench cigarettes, one farewell party after another and in the meantime finishing first sketches of my first novel, impatiently waiting for the trip to Gdansk and already mourning the last day in Wroclaw…

Gdansk became home of course much quicker than within a year. When you fall into sleep next to your beloved one, your heart even if full of uncertainty already feels like home and that first drunk night with your new friends, when you leave the bar and go to the beach to listen how the birds welcome the sunrise…

Fluent borders of feeling like home, winding between old and new, filling the new with hope and promise, and leaving the old with gratitude and love.

and you know what? The best thing of all is that all these homes remain your homes for ever. So am I now back at the first one, planning to see the second for the end of this week. See you there! 🙂