A cultural review of Krakow.

So it’s time for another blog in the now infamous series “A cultural review of” Previous blogs in the February series are RIGA WROCLAW  TALLINN   This years winning bid was from the city of Krakow and a return to Poland. So it was to Liverpool airport for the traditional 6am ish half term pint or three with the wise men getting them at the bar rather than paying Ryan Air prices. A few hours later and braving the cold and snow it’s pub one of many to come. After descending down stairs where I had to duck at points we ended up in a cellar and it was Tyskie’s all around. Onto a few more pubs Dompolonni and then the Dog in the fog where we were told of for singing which only brought out the old classic that was last sung in York “I am the music man” only in hushed tones and the lyrics changed from instruments names to skits about each of the lads on the trip. Onto the house of beer and it was time for a tactical stop and a visit to the golden arches. More pubs as expected and pub Florianska was were I have noted ‘taste sensation” must have been well on the way as I have no recollection of what that was about. Feel free to remind me in the comments section. I wasnt that pissed though as one of the lads was to declare Caroline Quinten as their dream woman, yes her of men behaving badly fame. Talk was then already switching to would we see a sighting of what could only be described as a rather large unusual circular shape. I was on the lookout for this on day one but it was not to be. Hotel Europejski was next up and impressing the bar man with the trick of piercing bar mats with just one finger was keeping us entertained in this bar. Onto another boozer where you had to climb down narrow tunnels to get to the main room. This was the most comfy pints I have had with you just literally lying on a lovely cushion with you legs draped across the floor. Luckily enough child booster seats were available for the smaller members of the group and also on offer was a selection of comedy hats. It was also then we decided that one of the lads had turned into a goth since the last trip. So onto the last boozer of the night, it was the last as it was becoming more difficult to move. The barman was playing darts (of the plastic variety with holes on the board) I was nominated as our darts player, based on skill and not physique I hope and yes I was victorious. Next they brought out the Polish and eastern european champion from out of nowhere and I was humiliated. Time to sit down and watch a re-enactment of the Lee Evans “Bohemian Rhapsody” routine and right on time the other 9 of us were up on the chairs and tables doing the “Waynes world” bit much to the amusement and surprise of the bar staff. One last twist to the night and we located a proper darts board made of thistle and with wires on. It was getting serious as the Polish and Eastern European champion brought out his own tape measure and started measuring the oche. It was now about 1.30am and entering the 19th hour of drinking. It wasnt the best two legs of darts I have ever played but I decided to throw at the middle board of the three I was seeing and despite some barracking from my own fans (I know how Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson feel now) it was a famous two nil victory and I was the new Eastern european darts champion. For the first time ever I think all ten of us went home together on the first night away but we did pay out on one of the lads falling asleep in an earlier bar and I had his ticket and won the dollar.

So day two in the big Krakow house and down for breakfast. Now being a fussy bastard I was hoping at best for hot dog type sausages and some bread and butter. I was informed it was all there so picked a hotdog up and sat down. This was the hotdog that could put me off hotdogs for life. I can only be described as looking like an off white cock with a pink condom hanging half off complete with dubious juices in the teat. Needless to say I opted for just bread and butter and had the Nutella’s off to give to my kids as a present. Would you eat what you see below ?

Polish hotdog

So day two of out trips and its culture time (as we wait for the boozers to open) This time if was the museum of Oskar Schindler which was the original factory in the story. It’s safe to say the next morning a few of us were still a bit “Schindler’s list” from the night before. it was a very in-depth museum and as ever brought home the events that had happened in the past. Krakow’s fabled Oskar Schindler’s Factory of Enameled Vessels ‘Emalia’ has been turned into a modern museum devoted to the wartime experiences in Krakow under the five-year Nazi occupation during the World War II. The museum takes up the sprawling administration building of the defunct plant at 4 Lipowa street, in the city’s grim industrial district of Zablocie on the right bank of Wisla river. Ingenious exhibitions combine period artifacts, photos and documents with multimedia and set-piece arrangements in an attempt to create a full-immersion experience.

Oskar Schindler factory

So what started of as a serious moment soon descended back into comedy as we bartered to obtain the use of what was a six seater elongated electronic battery-powered golf buggy. With the price negotiated low enough the 10 of us managed to get on the thing and off we headed off for a guided tour around the Jewish Ghetto with the 10 of us singing the banana splits theme tune. Please note this was stopped before we reached the ghetto walls to replaced by “In the ghetto” I kid you of course and apologise for a cheap gag but we were well-behaved. After what was a dangerous trip back on our banana splits golf buggy on icy main roads we found a pub and day two was to begin properly. You will be pleased to hear that I couldn’t be arsed chronicling the names of all the pubs of day two but we had now picked up a mascot for the trip called “Pink Dino” so it was only fair that Pink Dino was photographed throughout the day and he ended up in some strange places indeed including local barmaids, a local tramp and numerous other compromising positions some of which I can’t post but below is a montage to Pink Dino who whilst watching the Liverpool match was tragically dropped and only his head made it to the last bar. We have the other two pieces of Pink Dino and as yet I have received no update on the operation due to take place to put him back together. Feel free to click on Pink Dino for a larger version of the montage.

Pink Dino

So a valiant attempt by Liverpool but the result was soon forgotten as we met a man with a technicoloured dream coat thus presenting another opportunity to show of our singing skills with a belter rendition of “any dream will do”  and one of the lads managed to blag he was the son of John Aldridge !! The group split after this boozer and I made the decision to be a backing singer for one of the lads on a karaoke version of “Thats Amore” by Dean Martin to a crowd of 100% Polish people but we got a few rousing cheers. I did however miss seeing what was a good band with the other section of the group, you can’t win them all. Day two though was the day I got to see the giants spherical object that was the talk of Krakow. I managed to see it in the late evening just as the sun was setting romantically and managed to grab a picture of the most unexpected spherical shapes I have seen in my life.

Krakow balloon

So the next day arrives and time to head home not before on of the lads leaving his passport in a drawer in his hotel bedroom and after a return journey from the airport and back his nerves were calmed and it was located. After a short weather delay the flight home managed to take off. So plane home and so much drink that I havent had a further drop this weekend and a great trip to Krakow. Well worth a visit, especially in the summer when the weather gets nice. Thanks again to the group of teachers I gegg in with for the trip (The name of the school is withheld to protect the guilty) and after Gdansk 2008 Belfast 2009, Riga 2010, Wroclaw 2011, Tallinn 2012, Krakow 2013 was a classic. I look forward to Feb 2014 for the next adventure and the 10 year anniversary and what could be a return to Warsaw. I would just like to add that no horses, mice, snakes, panda’s, two donkeys, sheep or Koala bears were hurt on this trip, though I am forever scarred with seeing Koala bears with their little claws pushing back from the edge of a cliff. So this morning when up early with the baby watching cbeebies as if by some cruel twist of fate the Koala brothers cartoon came on. Thats yer lot did I mention I won the darts ?


Fay x x x x


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