The whole group was in good spirits for we were heading back to Poznan. Even better still, we would be travelling to Wrocław (or ‘Vrosuav’ if you wanted to sound authentic) the following day. So instead of heading back to camp, the organisers decided it would be best if we stayed overnight at the Lech hotel; much to everyone’s delight.
The day’s activities included the visit to a Social Integration Centre (SIC) in Darzyborska, in the outskirts of Poznan. Our van took an “unscheduled” detour to go visit Lech Poznan’s Stadium. I had previously hinted to Enoch about visiting it during our first weekend but didn’t really think it much of it. Yet our driver had somehow, through the process of human osmosis, detected this. It was fun turning up late and seeing the others (who were in another van) looking at us and probably wondering: where the hell have you guys been? You were right behind us!
Back at Darzyborska, a group of women had established an SIC and a Social Enterprise with the aim of helping long-term un-employed women back into full-time work. Some of the women they help often have additional problems such as alcoholism or had a child. However with Poland’s welfare system not as substantial as the UK’s, many are then left to fend for themselves when their welfare gets drastically reduced. Though these women were facing similar issues as the guys at the countryside, it was still good to see a solution we could relate to back in the UK.
With the itinerary changing for the day, we ended up with the afternoon off. We checked in at the hotel, split up and headed straight back into town. It was easy negotiating through the town square as we (Enoch and I) had been here over the weekend. I became the self-appointed tour guide, leading the Irish troupe in walking round the town hall like it was the Kaaba.
They seemed to have had enough, so decided perch outside one of these al-fresco restaurants to have dinner. The mood was jovial right until we were handed the menus. We appeared to have made reservations at Nobu. Enoch and I thought it will be best if we frequented Kebabistan instead as we were running dangerously low on Zlotys at this point. After our kebab meal, we then proceeded to continue our pilgrimage round the town squares with ice cream in hand. All that was left was to admire the beauties of the town.
Such was my depth in admiration; I initially missed my name being shouted from within the square. It was a female voice but definitely wasn’t Irish. Huh, who else knows I’m here? After frantically looking around we spot Katya and Krystina sat outside a bar enjoying some beer. So we went over for a chinwag and we end up being invited to meet some of her friends later in the evening. Maybe I can finally see for myself what the hype behind these go-go bars is about – clearly I’m joking here – but still, their scantily clad reps seemed to have targeted us with their flyer assault.
The bright lights of Poz
Some of the guys had wisely decided to sneak in a few hours of sleep before we went out. I on the other hand was catching up on some Olympics games action on TV. It was bordering on late so I gave Enoch a call; however, he wasn’t picking up his phone and I didn’t even know which room he or any of the others were in. In hindsight I should have checked at the reception but yes, hindsight…
I had now totally given up the idea of going out. I wasn’t prepared to head out on my own at night. At this moment I hadn’t collected anyone’s contact so had no idea where anyone was at. I also start to realise that Kebab and Ice cream is not a good combo for the stomach. So I throw on my shorts, which some people mistakenly think are boxer shorts (Potayto-Potato and all that), and tucked into bed. Sure we couldn’t make a night out of it, but we’re leaving for Wroclaw at 6am so an early night in wasn’t a bad idea after all. Wake up feeling fresh and all that. Suddenly, hear a knock on my door.
Outside knocking was Brian, who was wearing a rather tight glittery black top. He was ready to party alright. “Coming out?” he asks. My initial response was “No” but I was changing, I could hear some noise coming from the next room. So I checked out to see what was going on and to my surprise it was the Polish girls’ room. So I am standing there in my
boxers shorts and wife beater, and the girls are finding this absolutely hilarious. They had already returned from town but were willing give it a ‘Round 2’ as the rest of the group was already out.
We left to go meet the others on ‘go-go’ street. We had planned to go salsa dancing but the club was already closing. So we turned our heads to dragon bar: an old bombed-out castle turned which had been turned into an indoor-outdoor bar. The scene was definitely chilled and with a hint of bohemia. So we sat, had some drinks, and chatted along through the hours until it we agreed to call it a night.
Trying to get a taxi back to the hotel was now proving difficult. There simply weren’t many around and the ones which stopped understandably did not want to pick up 5 people. Our hotel wasn’t far from the town centre but some of the girls were wearing heels and we were walking mainly on cobbles. So we ambled on until we finally found a taxi driver who was willing to squeeze us into his cab back to the hotel.
We get off outside the hotel and as we head in, we see Enoch coming out. He looked like he’d been in a deep sleep – which he had- that’s why he wasn’t picking up my calls. His reason for being out was that he wanted a toothbrush and he had left his back at camp. The polish girls decided go to bed but the rest of us decided to help him look for a toothbrush. At 3am!
Well, while we’re at it, why not look for a chip shop to buy some food. Strangely enough, in Poland (at least from our experience in Poznan), food shops do not open till late like the bars do. There is nothing like a 4am chips. However, the girls managed to ambush a take away shop and the poor guy has to heat up a mushroom Panini for them just to get rid of us.
What the hell am I still doing outside? I have to wake up before 6am!
Well well, that was an eventful day. The good news is that we may get the chance to do it all over again in Wroclaw. The bad news? Well I have less than 2 hours to sleep. Luckily, Wroclaw is a 5 hour drive away so I will be able to catch up with some sleep during the journey. However, things didn’t turn out as planned.