My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Saturday’s scene: the amber glow of Gdansk

2013/01/12by Donna Hull


Amber glows on Mariacka Street in Gdansk, Poland

Walking in Gdansk, Poland, on a sunny, September day, I enter St. Mary’s gate to discover Mariacka Street glowing with gold—not the shiny precious metal that we usually think of but the burnished golden glow of amber—Baltic gold. Shop owners have brought their goods outside to lure shoppers like me into their stores. Tables and stands are heaped with amber jewelry and decorative items of all kinds. The scene is a heady-mix of old-world charm and all things amber.

Iron-railed stoops lead down to the cobblestone pavement from buildings decorated with rich architectural details giving Mariacka Street an intimate feeling. You’d be hard pressed to find evidence on the pedestrian-friendly street that this area of Gdansk was nearly flattened during World War II. The restoration doesn’t look new, like some I’ve seen in other European cities. Perhaps it’s because the stoops have been reconstructed with the original stone and engravings of patrician and religious symbols that graced the destroyed medieval buildings have been meticulously recreated.

Don’t just shop for amber in Gdansk. Be sure to visit the Amber Museum for a fascinating lesson in Baltic gold.

On my golden walk , I merely browse. There’s an art to knowing which golden piece of amber is real and which is fake. Later in the day, I learn the difference from an expert, but not soon enough for any purchases on my exploration of Mariacka Street.

Did you walk along Mariacka Street on your visit to Gdansk? Post a comment to tell us about your experience. I regret not buying a piece of amber jewelry as a travel memory. Maybe next time.

Disclosure: Airberlin, VisitBerlin and the City of Gdansk provided this travel experience. As always, the opinions are my own.

A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

D.J. Hunter January 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

Funny, there wasn’t a “Poland” before 1919. Everyone thinks it’s an old country. They forget that it used to be Prussia, a german speaking nation. Before 3 superpowers destroyed it.


Anna August 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Excuse me- you are so very wrong! The only time there was no Poland is XVIII (18) century, when indeed (several times) it was divided between Prussia, Russia and Austria!
The very beginnings of Poland reach X (10) century when it was established in 966 by being Christened by the Pope!
Please, do learn the history before you state such rubbish confusing foreigners, travellers and other visitors to this page!


Vera Marie Badertscher
January 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I love the look of amber necklaces, and in bulk, they really are arresting. Personally, I don’t care whether they are real or not–I just get what I like.
Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..10 Best Travel Food ExperiencesMy Profile


January 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Very pretty, I often shop for pretty jewellery when I travel – it’s small and light to carry back and you get something a bit more unusual.
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Christine January 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

How beautiful. It would definitely have made a nice memento!


sheryl January 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

The colors are just beautiful. I hope you are able to find an amber necklace somewhere else in your travels…
sheryl recently posted..I Can’t Meditate. But I Can Still Relax (and so can you).My Profile


merr January 20, 2013 at 8:38 am

Lovely amber, and so abundant.


Living Large January 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I’ve never been, but you make me want to visit. I love amber colored jewelry, it always catches my eye at flea markets and antique stores.
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Kris January 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I love the look of amber, but boy. I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between real and fake.
Kris recently posted..Recipe: Homemade MayonnaiseMy Profile


Jane Boursaw
January 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Beautiful, Donna! I’m not a big jewelry person, but I love this type of jewelry.
Jane Boursaw recently posted..Ten Reasons Why Sasha and Malia Obama Are the Coolest Kids EverMy Profile


MyKidsEatSquid February 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm

The amber jewelry is gorgeous. When I visited Poland I didn’t see anything like that.
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Donna Hull
February 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm

You just didn’t go to the right street in Gdansk :-).


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