There was one thing on my bucket list that I had to see while I was in Poland and that was the sand dunes at Slowinski National Park. We had a very busy couple of months in Poland and weekends came and went with other plans and coming to the end of our trip we still hadn't had the chance to visit the sand dunes. On our second last day in Europe before we were set to board our way-too-many-hours-on-a-plane flight back to Australia, Dan’s uncle took a day off work. It was early in the morning while we were just waking up without many plans for the rest of the day, when he comes to us and says in Polish “I need to show you Łeba (Slowinski), let’s go”.

We set off on the two hour drive West away from Gdansk, five of us cramped in a tiny Skoda that couldn’t keep up with the highway speeds and an aircon that barely worked during the summer heat - but it was all part of the European roadtrip charm. We drove through pine forests, passed fields of flowers in the countryside and gazed at the country houses with piles of wooden logs already preparing for the cold winter ahead while in the middle of summer. We saw deer grazing in the fields and stalks that build their nests at the top of electricity poles.

It had only rained a couple of times during our entire long stay in Poland, and ironically as soon as we parked our car at the National Park entrance, the dark clouds looming in the distance finally gave way and it started pouring. We were too eager to get out of the car after the long drive and to start exploring, that we started our adventure through the rain.

Once we arrived at the park, we had to pay a small entrance fee and then purchase tickets for the ferry to take us to the beginning of the forest walkway to the sand dunes. After the first ferry ride, we stopped at the entrance of the walkway to have a bite to eat with some Polish beers before starting the forest trail.

The forest trail is incredible for an Australian like me. You are surrounded by towering pine trees, the floor and the tree trucks are covered in a layer of green moss and everything looked and felt so fresh and lush. Dan’s uncle picked some sort of berry from the forest floor for us to try and I was taken by all the tiny creatures that would suddenly appear everywhere around you if you only just paid attention. Fire red squirrels, tiny frogs with the loudest voices, giant beetles and giant slugs.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring where the forest meets the sand and taking a quick dip in the freezing Baltic sea before driving back home at dusk.

all photos edited with my new Gdansk Lightroom Preset!