Although it might seem like the wrong time of year for this kind of post, it is relevant nonetheless. And important. Important that I dispel some myths that are commonly held about what a winter here might be like.
Northern Poland is not the cold, dark, frozen place of your (and previously my) mind.
Every winter I have experienced in Ontario has been more harsh, more cold, more windy and more miserable than the one I have experienced here. The locals tell us that it was the most severe winter they have known of late.
We had a total of 21 days with snow on the ground. 10 days at once, it melted for 3 weeks and came back for another 11 days. And it was gone. By the end of January, the snow had disappeared for good.
As for temperatures, it stayed consistent at a balmy -1°C for most of the winter. At the beginning of the season, Ben and I asked our School Principal what the guidelines were for sending the students outside at recess. When we explained that in Canada, they go out until it is -25°C, we were met with disbelief and gaping mouths. They don’t really HAVE a guideline, because it never gets cold enough to worry about. Although we did have a couple of colleagues come up to us and ask our opinion on sending the kids outside when it was lightly snowing and -5°C. Then it was our turn to stare at them in disbelief with gaping mouths.
Winter was short, mild and utterly gorgeous.
If you still need convincing, this is what a winter in Northern, coastal Poland looks like:
Our walk to school through the park
Christmas Lights in the Park
The Baltic Sea
Simply put, Gdansk is beautiful no matter the season.