Good morning Hamsters and Dino’s was the shout as the minibus headed towards Manchester Airport for the 10th February trip (This was my 6th appearance and previous years cultural reviews are here KRAKOW , TALLINN , WROCLAW , RIGA ) It was a return to the first venue and Warsaw in Poland. With the group already a man down due to unfortunate circumstances the bushes and shrubbery of Warsaw breathed a sigh of relief as this member of the team couldn’t make it. No earliest personal best for starting drinking this time but it was a personal best for first Desperado at just after 5am in the morning and after a swift three it was time to board the plane but more giant Dezzies and different flavoured ones were to come. This trip we had decided we were gonna be a group of plumbers for the trip and some poor gullible soul was wishing us luck with our venture as we got off the plane and Shawfield plumbing could almost taste the first bevy on Polish land. This year we had gone for apartments instead of a hotel and I hit the jackpot with a palatial bedroom complete with vintage gramaphone and massive flat screen TV and double bed. One of the other apartments the lads were staying in was the same size as just my bedroom down a prisoner cell block H style locked corridor. Always handy being drawn in the organisers room. So we head out for the first pint and a dodgy version of Tyskie in bar Frodo. Soon we entered the wonderful world of ex soviet subways where there is a whole culture of shops etc including Mcdonalds. A refreshing change from the piss smelling subway of Aigburth Rd. These trips are not all just about booze and soon we came across another gem of the soviet era the Warsaw palace of culture and science (Pic below) Construction started in 1952 and lasted until 1955. A gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland, the tower was constructed, using Soviet plans. The architecture of the building is closely related to several similar skyscrapers built in the Soviet Union of the same era, most notably the Moscow State University. However, the main architect Lev Rudnev incorporated some Polish architectural details into the project by traveling around Poland and seeing the architecture.
Enough of that and back onto tales from on the piss in Warsaw. After numerous bars of which I had now been given the prestigious title of “Head of bar and pub wifi passwords” I could tell I had consumed a few beers as one bar man told me the password was “Aitnawtz” thinking this was a dodgy Polish word I asked him to write it down so I typed it correct once he had served our bevvies. He duly came over with a scrap of paper on with “00000000” eight noughts, doh !!! Soon we had the bars putting on our own music including a singalong to the ‘Sergeant Peppers” album and my head of wifi password was soon overtaken with somebody taking it upon themselves to designate them as “Head of grammar” I wish I was able to seen that one coming. After watching the match we found a bar which I think was Patricks bar with a decent band on and were in full voice once again ending in a conga once the band had finished joined with a few random Polish people joining in. With a kebab place and bar just 200m from out apartments it was happy days as I decided to head home and the only disappointment of the day coming from my view as newly proclaimed title as Liverpool weather expert was that we had no snow and temps were warm enough to brave just a trackie top. As ever only 3 out of 4 of my room mates made it home the missing one found in another of our rooms.
So day two and feeling remarkably good it was time to head off for some breakfast and a large fries from Mcdonalds and onto the traditional cultural bit of the trip and a visit to a museum or the likes this time the Warsaw upping museum. On the way we past a few sex shops and one vibrator shop which had the most beautifully designed toy we had ever seen. God knows what we all looked like a gang of 10 men outside a closed dildo shop peering in, but we were only admiring and drooling over the ergonomic design of aforementioned toy, honest. Even more ashamidly than gozzing in a dildo shop window I swerved the museum and went for beer over culture as luckily about a one minute walk from the museum there was a bar using the assumption that you if you have seen one occupation you have seen them all having been in numerous other museums over the years. With loads more bars visited the moral compass of the group was going west with one poor gym with a large window fronting at pavement level taking a particular pause in the nights walking from pub to pub. Next as one of the lads was noticed to have an uncanny look of Mezit Ozil we had a group bet on him to score first and last at 18/1. Needless to say when he missed the pen the Polish locals learned a few new English expletives. More bars and hazy memories we made it back to our local called Cafe Dada (pic below) it was one for the road which turned into about another three hours. Highlights of which were when we went for a group sing song of Bohemian Rhapsody the bar maid got a mic out for us and then with utter looks of bemusement by the other Poles in the cafe when the “Waynes world” bit kicked in 10 grown men, two of which are over 60 danced like loons ! The rest of the night I spent drinking Gin and lemonade only to find out the gin had run out ages ago but in my states I had failed to notice.
So the bonus this year of a late flight meant extra time to sleep any hangover off meant the last day of the trip was not too bad. A few quick highlights was one of the lads phoning his bird and at the start of the conversation saying “you sound miles away (slight pause) well I suppose you are” cue laughter from everybody else. In the airport there was a smoking box which earned the nickname of “The cancer TARDIS” and scoring a goal on the plane being given some extra legroom seats. You could tell the normality of Liverpool was nearing as two of the lads were sitting there swapping recipes on the flight !!!
Now to the big reveal of the trip which I refused to tell on the second night as the moral compass of somebody had well and truly lost its magnetism and the spring had broke firing the moral compass through the glass and into orbit. For some reason we got talking about losing a mother and then how it was like to lose a second parent to which I gave an opinion as his mother had died as well leaving him a poor orphan just like myself. I also explained how one of the lads had recently lost him mother and showing caring, empathy and love in this conversation pushing the booze to once side I then got the punchline me ma’s not really dead !!! Thats 10 mins of my life I won’t get back.
So back in Liverpool and home to some sausage rolls. No doubt so many moments lost in the haze of the two days on the grog. Some unable to be put on this blog for moral and legal reasons. Not one game of darts this year. Thanks again to the group of teachers I gegg in with for the trip, though with each passing year the numbers of actual teachers drop as they sadly leave the profession and only one remains from the original school that started the trip in 2005 (The name of the school is withheld to protect the guilty) just for the record I am a Hamster not a Dino.
Fay x x x x x