“I really shouldn’t. I have a flight to catch”.
“Oh, fine! Ok Spyros! What happened to you? If you’ve become such a party pooper, I’ll take us to a place that serves both coffee and beverages. Do as you feel like doing…”
That was the beginning of my solo trip to Poland. But how did I end up flying to Poland without Catherine by my side? Well, allow me to take you back to when it all started, that is just a few weeks before finding myself semi-drunk, moments before this journey…
I was checking out various potential stops on our Summer journey’s itinerary and we were trying to estimate the amount of time and money the transports between these sites would require. We were in the ever displeasing position of crossing out some places on our list as unreachable, since getting there would require much more of our time. While searching for flights to Poland, I noticed a really cheap one:
Getting from Corfu to Poznań with a mere ten euro fare and returning to Corfu from Katowice by paying a thirty euro flight ticket. The only thing about it was that this three day trip would fall right on the Greek Easter weekend, but that didn’t mind me much. However, we both wanted to visit Catherine’s family for the forthcoming holiday, so that would mean that this travel opportunity, would go to the waste basket.
Yet, Catherine urged me not to miss that chance and it didn’t take long before I was booking tickets and searching for accommodation, while planning my solo mini trip in Poland. So, I decided to meet some friends in Corfu and fly to Poznan, where I would spend the night, before heading to Kraków with a small stop in Wrocław on the way. Meanwhile, I tried to learn some Polish since I like foreign languages, so I tested my skills for about a month on PoznanDuolingo.
So, come Easter Friday I drove opposite Corfu island, where I left the car and crossed the Ionian sea under a heavy sky to Corfu. I was excited to begin my solo trip and my excitement grew stronger when I met my friends and their cute daughter, who were expecting me. I hadn’t prepared myself for their sinister plan though. Which was to enjoy a drink with them and although I urged my friend to have coffee instead, she strongly insisted on us having some drinks. Finally, she settled for an establishment where I could have some coffee, while they could have a drink and the same time she reminded me:
“You are an adult. You can have coffee or ouzo. It’s strictly your choice”
Well I had ouzo, a drink I rarely drink nowadays, one I enjoyed often as a student. Funny thing about that drink. You feel great for a long time and suddenly Kabooom! It can strike unexpectedly like a cobra. So, Everything was fine for a long time, the guys even gave me a lift to the airport and they hanged around to keep me company till the plane took off.
I also bought this guy’s masterpiece the following day…
Aboard the plane I spotted only four more passengers and subsequently the flight gave a scent as if some tycoon was flying in his private jet. The drinking hadn’t got to me yet although I was beginning to feel a bit tipsy but I behaved like a proper gentleman all the way to Poland. I even gave a mini lecture on the differences between various traditional Greek beverages as we chatted with the crew and I enjoyed a cup of coffee on the way.
As I arrived in Poznań, I caught a bus to the city, after exchanging some Zlotys and since I hadn’t packed much stuff, I decided to walk around town for a while, before heading to my hostel for a brief brake.
Since the hostel was in close proximity to the main square, I opted for a small stroll that would start away from it before eventually closing in on the plaza.
My first stop was at the Imperial castle, the last imperial residence built in Europe by Wilhelm II, the last German Kaiser and I also visited Adam Mickiewicz square (I ‘ll explain more about him on the next post), where you can see a monument to the June of ’56 uprising that was brutally repressed by the regime with Soviet aid and cost the lives of dozens. The Hungarian people declared their support towards the Poles’ cause and they revolted themselves, sadly facing the same if not worst fate. I had no idea about this act of solidarity and I was very touched a few months later, when I saw an exhibition inside Warsaw castle, commemorating the strong bond between these two nations.
What I really wanted to see though, was Stary Marych (Old Marych). That is a statue featuring a typical old Poznań resident, holding his bicycle and walking. I had to see it since it remind me of many old people back home. “What on earth man? Why did you have to go all the way to Poland to view a statue of someone you get to see live every day, over most of your life?”, someone might ask. Well, I guess I liked the fact that an average person was chosen by the people of the city to feature on an artwork.
After wandering around for a while, I checked in on my hostel and tried to rest for an hour, before going out for a drink. I woke up several hours later joined by a mild hangover. The drinks I had in Corfu, finally caught up with me hundreds of miles away from the place I consumed them. I felt angry at myself. I had only a few days to spent in Poland and I wasted an entire evening sleeping, because I couldn’t restrain myself back home. Still, I had fun with my friends and I woke up extremely early, having three hours to catch a train to Wrocław, thus having the advantage to take some photos of the city without crowds of people blocking my shots. Normally, Catherine handles most of the photo work during our trips, but I was on my own on this one. So, I checked out, got my baggage and hit the streets.
My first impression of my morning walk in Poznań was the amazing view of the Stary Rynek (the old town square), of which I had seen some great photos, but being face to face with those bright colorful p;ace could not be captured by any photo or words. I walked around this wonderful place admiring the Town hall and the various statues like the Pranger of Poznań, and Neptune, but I mostly liked the Proserpina Fountain (Fontana Prozerpiny).
After walking around the almost empty square, I walked to Ostrow Tumski, simply to cross the Varta river and view the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. I had a nice walk till I reached that spot, but after completing this quest, I was feeling that I was running out of time.
So, after a couple of hours of wandering around the city, I considered that I’d better walk towards the train station in order to spend some more of my time in Wrocław, before continuing my journey to Kraków. I was in no need of a rest (last night’s sleep had taken good care of that) and I was about to do some Gnome hunting in Wrocław…
Trying to pull yourself up from last night’s hangover, you raise your eyes to the sky and face an executioner, looming over your head, that should make you come to your senses…