GDAŃSK | European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności 

Autumn 2021. In theory we could travel to other continents, but destinations we had in mind such as Japan or the United Kingdom were impossible to plan ahead. Instead we organised a rail trip to Eastern Europe, travelling to Berlin, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Bratislava, Poprad, Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. By travelling to Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Austria, we explore an area which was in the (not too distant) past bonded together by the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and by Austria-Hungary.

Solidarność.

Yes, we know the name Solidarność. We also know who Lech Wałęsa is. But Danny and I didn’t have decent knowledge of the movement and events of 1980 onwards in Poland which led to the end of the communist regime. 

So, when we were in Gdańsk, after the Museum of the Second World War, we headed to the the European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności. The ESC is located on the Gdańsk Shipyard, formerly known as Lenin Shipyard.

Gate of the shipyard.

The museum is all about how and why the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union ‘Solidarity’ (Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy ‘Solidarność’) came to be. What was the context? What was the prelude? How was life in communist Poland? How did the strike start? How did the government react? The Martial Law? Free elections? 

All these questions are answered in the tour. The audioguide is automatic and quite talkative. It sometimes struggled to locate us and to produce the right clip with the right pannel. 

But still it’s very educational with some peculiar exhibits such as the original plywood with the demands of the strike and a popemobile. 

2021 Rail Tour of Imperial Europe

  1. POTSDAM 2021 | Schloss Sanssouci.
  2. 1945 Potsdam Conference’s Cecilienhof Palace.
  3. Potsdam 2021.
  4. REVIEW | InterContinental Berlin.
  5. BERLIN 2021 | Pergamon, ‘Das Panorama’.
  6. BERLIN 2021 | Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
  7. BERLIN 2021 | The Bundestag in the Reichstag.
  8. Berlin 2021.
  9. By train from Berlin to Gdansk via Szczecin.
  10. Stopover in Szczecin.
  11. REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
  12. REVIEW | Holiday Inn Gdansk.
  13. GDAŃSK | Museum of the Second World War.

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