Monday 21 July 2008

The sacred art of guidebook drying

To say that the weather has been changeable this afternoon would be a bit of an understatement.

After a pleasant wander around the town and a short stop for a late lunch, I caught the ferry up the river to Westerplatte. This small spit of land poking out into the Baltic had a traumatic life during World War II. It was here that at dawn on September 1st 1939 the German ship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire. These shots marked the start of the invasion of Poland and by the end of the day the continent would be mobilising and two days later War would officially be declared.

The area has not been rebuilt and a few bombed out buildings, slowly being reclaimed by nature, and a statue is all that remain. It is well worth a visit, but possibly not during the middle of a massive thunderstorm.

In an attempt to keep sort of dry I sheltered under a tree until a really big flash of lightning nearby reminded me that sheltering under tress in a storm is a silly idea, so I managed to run to a nearby bar and shelter under an awning.

However, the rain was so hard, and kept getting harder, that it managed to penetrate my bag and turned my nearly new guidebook into a soggy mess. As I type this I have the heater in the bathroom up to full blast with the book lying open in front of it in an attempt to make it usable, any attempt to turn pages at present results in the paper starting to disintegrate. That’s how wet it was! Of course, 20 minutes later the sun was out and it was all very pleasant again (if you ignore the massive puddles that had formed in all the streets)

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