Why Gdansk is my favourite non-Indian city to visit

Most people have their reasons for picking a favourite:

  • It’s the first place I visited
  • It’s scenic/has a lot of history/…
  • The people are wonderful

Mine is a combination of the above, but the precise moment when I fell in love with the place has to do with my love for the movies.

Gdansk was indeed the first place I visited outside of India. I went there for some project meetings nearly ten years ago and one of my Polish colleagues came to the airport to pick me up. I had heard that Polish was a slightly tough language to master, so I asked my colleague Karolina how the name of the city was pronounced. Her explanation can be summarized as follows: The G in the beginning is pronounced, the d is soft and there’s an implicit i before the n. Guh-dayinsk. More or less.

In the Polish alphabet, the n used in Gdansk has a tail attached to it (like so: ɲ), which is how you know to add the i in front when you pronounce it. She explained that this letter was called Ni.

And added, by way of clarification: “Like the Knights who say Ni.”

Game, set and match.

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2 thoughts on “Why Gdansk is my favourite non-Indian city to visit

  1. S says:

    Oh yeah I remember back in Aug ’03 you wrote me a note about this trip and how you were blown away by their beet root soup…”Barszczyk
    czysty” Right? OK, just kidding. I know you were pretty bummed to find out they put beef stock in it and you were just about ready to run outside and graze on their lawn for lack of vegetarian options on the menu.

    • Yeah, I had a tough time finding good veg food back then. Partly because I was new to the place, partly because I didn’t know the language… It got better with subsequent visits, and by the time I visited in 2008, they even had a vegetarian food chain called Green Way that served (their version of) koftas, samosas etc!

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