Baltic Beauty: Gdańsk, Poland

It’s no mistake that I started to talk about our time in Gdańsk, and then diverted over to the side trips we took to Sopot and Malbork Castle. Every time I sit down to try to tackle what we did and saw in Gdańsk, I get overwhelmed. There was a lot to see and do, yet it was charming and picturesque enough to just sit back and enjoy without an agenda or plan. 

Part of what I appreciated about Gdańsk is that there’s variety. There are boats to see and even ride, museums to visit, churches to wander into, lots of history to study, easy access to the beach, amber to shop for, plus good food and hang-out spots when the time comes just to relax. Let me try to unpack the city a little more by its elements:

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Park it in Paris: Lac Daumesnil in Bois de Vincennes

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

Writing really can be therapeutic. I’m sorry if I’ve allowed you to step into the role of my attentive psychologist as I keep making declaration about myself. I love weird modern statues! I am always up for a climb to get a view of a city from above! And today’s new piece of info - I love boats! (If you do too, good news - you certainly have not heard the end of my enjoyment of a good boat ride.)

My affection for boats is a fickle one. I know little about boats and how they operate, but I know one thing: I love boat rides, on any type and any size boat. In fact, it’s odd that I still haven’t been on a cruise given this soft spot for being on the water. 

But enough about me. All this to say that over a year ago, I latched onto the idea of renting a boat to go out on Lac Daumesnil in Paris’ Bois de Vincennes. It’s been on my Paris bucket list, and feeling newly inspired to get serious about checking off those lingering items, Michael and I went set out last Saturday take a boat out on the lake.

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August Staycation

Bon lundi!

It's August, and Paris is in its typical summer mode. Bags have been packed, the Parisians have headed off to the beaches, and many establishments have posted signs on the door announcing closings for the month. The city has officially been handed over to the remaining tourists.

Even though it's a nuisance to keep up-to-date with which of my favorite spots are still open this month, I don't mind staying behind and finishing out summer in Paris. I want to savor the remaining sunshine, squeeze in another picnic or two, and still hope to catch a free movie outdoors.

Walking along the Port de l'Arsenal, just south of Place de la Bastille

Besides, I'm continuing to discover new spots throughout the city. It's hard to believe I have walked to Place de la Bastille so often (where the notable July column stands) and somehow have never wandered a little further south to walk along the last stretch of the Canal Saint-Martin to where it meets the Seine river. It's interesting how we tend to develop patterns in our everyday life without realizing it, like walking or driving the same route consistently. This month, I want to change that and embrace being a tourist in my own city. (And I've started with visits to Jardin des Plantes and the Pantheon.) Everyone else is a tourist here at the moment, so why not?

Wherever you are this August, here's to making an effort to break routines and explore new ground!