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Help with travel to Gdansk

25 Jul 2009 /  #1
I am from the USA and speak no Polish. I want to go visit Gdansk and see the town my dad is from ( Langfuhr 1929 ). I want to visit the the family cemetarys and churches and all my dad tells me about.

When is the best time to travel there and where do I fly to ? Any general help would be appreciated.
I am afraid to travel to Poland because I can not speak the language, but I need to see where my ancestors are from, plus I have family there.

I just do not know where to start.........HELP...............
25 Jul 2009 /  #2
Many people (and I mean many) speak English, so yopu will have no worries on that score. Find airlines that travel to Gdansk and take it from there. Best time to travel is now, certainly noe tin the winter.
25 Jul 2009 /  #3
Do your family know about your visit? I am sure they can help some. I went to Gdańsk this past October and I know very little Polish. You will find that people who are 50 years old and older, usually know German rather than English as they grew up in Communistist times. But most younger people speak some English.

There is an airport in Gdańsk, and train and bus service from the airport. I had friends pick me up. I did not rent a car, and stayed in a hostel in Gdańsk so I could see the sights by foot.

If your family is outside the city, you may want to rent a car. I am sure you will enjoy your trip. It is a lovely city.

And yes, summer is great, and fall.
26 Jul 2009 /  #4
When is the best time to travel there and where do I fly to ?

St. Dominic's Fair
Event date: 25.07-16.08.2009

Today, St Dominic's Fair is the largest trade and cultural outdoor event in Poland
and one of the largest such events in Europe.,en
OP tatt2dmoon  
27 Jul 2009 /  #5
The family I have there does not speak english, they speak German & Polish. I speak niether. I do not know how I would communicate with them , but I would like to see them. I have never met them. We would like to stay in a hotel to not put out my cousin. When my dad lived there it was german speaking mostly. I can not wait to go.

Thank you,
27 Jul 2009 /  #6
I do not know how I would communicate with them

Hug them, kiss them and send them big smile ;)
OP tatt2dmoon  
27 Jul 2009 /  #7
Thank you to all I feel more comfortable with going ahead with my travels.......

When I arrive in my fathers hometown and see my cousins I will Hug,kiss and cry. We will communicate somehow. Maybe I can find a translator, but I am not rich. I am saving pennies for this trip of my life time.

Does Gdansk have an international airport to fly to? Any recommendations on a certain Hotel?

I am planning on at least a week but I highly doubt that will be long enough. Any thoughts.
My main travels will be the city itself and what was Langfur and Oliwa. With these should I rent a car.?

27 Jul 2009 /  #8
Fly to Frankfurt and then to Gdansk. You won't need a car. Buses, trams, trains and taxis will get you anywhere you want to go for a whole lot less money. Don't worry about the language. Many people here speak English, but a few Polish words will go a long way.

I've lived here for two years and I love it. When are you coming? I'll help you as much as I can. Just one Yank to another.Email or pm me.
OP tatt2dmoon  
27 Jul 2009 /  #9
I won't be coming until next year. I am getting all the info I need to prepare now. Including a US Passport. You have no idea how much all this has helped me.

Thank you
27 Jul 2009 /  #10
Contact the Polish national Tourist Office - they have an office in New Jersey... see [] for further information. Give them a call - I am sure that they'd be happy to help.
27 Jul 2009 /  #11
Langfuhr and Oliwa ?
When i google "Langfuhr I get "Wrzeszcz" - that couldn't be easier :)

Both Wrzeszcz and Oliwa are easy-to-get-to places in Gdansk. They're on the main road - and on bus/tram/train lines - going up through from the city centre.

I'm sitting in Wrzeszcz right now - it's sort of like the city centre for businesses.
OP tatt2dmoon  
27 Jul 2009 /  #12

Any way you could take a photo of my dads old hone in Wrzeszcz ?

It was Labesweg Number 10 now Lelewela number 10, couple homes over from where Gunter Grass grew up..????

I am sorry I cant get the polish names right. I will crash course on them.
I want to get my dad a photo of his old home, he is 80 and not in good health and has not seen it since 1940.....

28 Jul 2009 /  #13
I'll have a go, certainly -- can't promise when I'll remember to bring my camera to work (my memory is excellent but very very short).

I hope your dad isn't expecting green fields and birdsong -- this place is built-up.

How about going to -- pick "mapy" along the top, and then put in

Lelewela gdansk 10

That will at least show you where it is -- and if you zoom out a few levels you can see the context (Oliwa will show up once your scale is around 2km)


if the street is indeed ul. Joachima Lelewela then it was called after this guy
OP tatt2dmoon  
29 Jul 2009 /  #14

I found the street on the map from the link you gave me and that is the street. I matched it up to the old map I have with the old name on it.

Thanks and if you do indeed remember the camera it would be awesome. My dad knows the towns isnt the same but he knows the house is still there.

He left at age 14 to go to war and never returned, not by his choice. But his family remained there.
He has no photo of the house he was born in. In fact 10 of the 13 children where born in that house. To give my dad such a gift would bring tears to his eyes. I was able to make him a photo book but the only thing lacking was that.

I can't wait to visit Poland ! Waiting on SLOW USA passport...............................

29 Jul 2009 /  #15
I can't wait to visit Poland

Poland is ready to welcome you....we are all getting in the beer and kielbasa ready for your visit.....
30 Jul 2009 /  #17
It was Labesweg Number 10 now Lelewela number 10

Gdańsk, Lelewela 10

2 Aug 2009 /  #19
Hey tatt2dmoon. I live very close to Ul. Lelewela so I went and took a few pics over the weekend. I can't upload them here for some reason but I can email them if you like? Hope they are of some use to you and your dad & enjoy your visit to Poland.
OP tatt2dmoon  
3 Aug 2009 /  #20
backofthenet81. I sent you an email
20 Aug 2009 /  #21
beware of the shops. people never smile. even if you're trying to speak in polish use of basic words, they will never help you. they will still talk to you like you're fluent in polish. I LOATHE POLISH CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!
20 Aug 2009 /  #22
All that's left is the undoubtedly therapeutic approach - smile sweetly and rip them apart in fluent English before walking out.
20 Aug 2009 /  #23
Check fly routes carefully. There are several options to choose from, see what/who gives you the best price.
29 Aug 2009 /  #24

Have you ever visited the website Polish Origins? I, like you was nervous about visiting Poland because I do not speak the language. The found this website, it is relatively new, and it is moderated by a wonderful man in Poland named Zenon. There is a discussion forum at this website and the members have really great information to share.

The moderator of the site also hosts tours to your ancestral village. This past spring I worked with Zenon to create a tour to my village and in July I was standing in my ancestral village. It was wonderful and I even found a cousin there.

Come on over and visit us at Polish Origins and talk with my fellow members. Even if you can't take a tour with Zenon, I think you will like the site and make many friends.

29 Aug 2009 /  #25
I think if you learn a few key phrases it will be appreciated by anyone you meet, please and thanks etc and how to ask for something, the basics aren't so hard if you don't worry about grammar.
30 Aug 2009 /  #26
beware of the shops. people never smile.

Not true in Gdansk. This week I went to three shops looking for a mug which they didn't have. After I left my Polish friend Gosia, who was with me the whole time, commented that every time I spoke Polish, they answered in English.

I usually have to ask the shop assistants to speak to me in Polish.

Granted, it was in the old town, but that's been my experience almost everywhere in the trojmiasto. Speaking some Polish helps but it's not always necessary.
31 Aug 2009 /  #27
every time I spoke Polish, they answered in English.

If you try to speak Polish with Poles who know English, many of them want to show that they know some English.
31 Aug 2009 /  #28
The only time this has ever happened to me was at an airport. We initially spoke in Polish, and it seemed like the check-in person only changed to English after he saw my UK passport. But as I continued to speak in Polish, he soon gave up on the English :)

Never happened to me anywhere else, and I've spent many months in Poland.
4 Sep 2009 /  #29
But as I continued to speak in Polish, he soon gave up on the English :)

Is it rude to speak in Polish when someone is speaking to you in English?
I have done this also and kept on doing it when they kept on speaking English. It was just basic stuff so if they switched to Polish it would have been ok, they would ask chips or potatoes and I would say ziemniaki etc. Kind of like a battle of two stubborn people.

I am over the moon with happiness though when we speak only polish, they understand and I understand! Amazing, it makes my day, it is addictive and then it is a complete downer if I speak English later, I don't get any buzz from meeting Poles who speak English. I hate to speak English in Poland.

I would prefer to do without something than ask for it in English.
OP tatt2dmoon  
4 Sep 2009 /  #30
Well at least I know I can go with only a few words under my belt and manage in English.
I will only be in the main city anyways. Aside from a trip to a few cemeteries were I highly doubt I will need to talk to my relatives in Polish.

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