Gdansk and The Crawford Conk

posted on December 7, 2008 in Travel

Useful Polish Phrases
osiem piwo (Ochem peevo): Eight beers

As I guided the Pimp Wagon towards Derby, Dave regaled me with his recent exploits talking about the times he’d nearly scored. I explained that if you’re concerned with nearly scoring then we’re nearly scoring right now, in fact any time that you’re not actually scoring is time spent nearly scoring. Dave rubbed his hands together and said ‘clunge’.

Day 1

The following morning we met up with the rest of the crew. At a full complement of 8, we had a breakfast beer and headed to Poland aboard Wizz air. We landed in Gdansk with clapping from the mainly Polish passengers. Apparently landing safely in Poland is rare enough to warrant applause.

We checked into hotel Abak and headed on down to Gdansk town. All very Eastern Europe looking if not as original is it appears, since our team kindly reduced most of it to smouldering rubble during the War.

Gdansk main strip

We piled into a restaurant for some much needed warmth and fodder. Trotter for the adventurous, pizza for the not so. Carl is something of a language expert, deftly unleashing useful Polish phrases on the rest of us. He lent me the phrase book so I could ask for the bill. When the time came I caught the eye of a rather delightful waitress. “Pro… pro-prosh-ic? Rat-tunic… pro-shay?” I asked hopefully.

She stared at me expressionless.

Quick thinking, I gave her a big thumbs up and a hopeful grin. Immediately she realised my strong grip of the language, and went off to fetch our bill. Such was the impact of my routine she imitated the thumbs up to the kitchen staff. They laughed. Probably at my genius.

Later I asked Dave “what was his favourite thing about scoring?” “Clunge” he responded. He then paused and thought it over some more. He revised his answer to “the fact that you’re scoring”.

That evening we head out to sample the delights of Gdansk. We quickly find the most happening night spot; Cafe Absinth, packed to the Polski rafters with young Poles and a sprinkling of foreigners for good measure. The eight of us squeezed in and set about the piwo with an unrivalled appetite.

Dave and myself were separated from the other 6 such was the cramped conditions and it became noticeable that a couple of Polish girls were squeezing past us with increased frequency. By the time we had regrouped with the others Dave had resolved to go up to one of these girls. When Dave rubbed his hands together I knew his commitment was absolute. He went over.

This photo is the exact moment. The one thing that really sticks out from this photo,

Dave works his magic

that really noses its way into the forefront of my mind,

Look, a nice Polish girl for Dave

is the girth,

A nice Polish girl for Dave, only zoomed in a bit

of Dave’s smile – he’s just so bloody happy! Awesome.

Soon after someone (coughCarlcough) cracked out the absinthe, and quickly the proceedings descended into madness. Dave thought the car park was a dock replete with boats, I went climbing and woke up in someone else’s bed, (thanks for that Al, I won’t tell if you don’t), Rosey, Adam, Carl and Lew were also there in physical capacity, although the mental was perhaps impaired.

Day 2

We slept mostly. I had to apologise to the hotel for desecrating their carpets, angering the neighbours, befouling their bins, temporarily mislaying the key for a short period of time and disgracing my nation. We also went to Sopot that evening, where one Pole wanted to get to know us (although mainly to tell us we couldn’t expect to come over there and score with their women), one Pole seemed angered that she had accidentally ended up in some of our photos, one Pole scared little Adam in such a way that I’m sure the flashbacks will haunt him for years, one Pole wanted to flatten Matt only to be dissuaded by his affable English charm, and one Pole, we’re pretty sure, was a prostitute.

Day 3

On our final night, we hadn’t any real plan, just a recommendation of a restaurant near St Mary’s church and the vague notion that we would just see what happens. Sunday in Gdansk seemed distinctly quieter, so I wasn’t holding my breath.

The boys

As we mulled over the choice of slow broiled cabbage and mystery meat mixes we heard the clatter of heels and a number of female voices. I turned around in my chair to see a load of girls arrive at the top of the stairs. Just when we needed it most 8 hot English girls had been injected not just into Gdansk, or the restaurant we were in, but the very mezzanine floor that we were dining on. Behind me I heard the distinctive sound of Dave’s hands rubbing together in anticipation.

Of course those in our party weighed down in the long term enjoyment of wives and girlfriends took no heed of these new arrivals. For the other 8 of us though it was something of a windfall.

In all honestly under normal circumstances these girls probably wouldn’t have given us a look in. But like the Burger King at a motorway services we had a captive audience. It was a Sunday night, there was no one else about, and if they wanted to go for a drink – which they did – it would have to be with us. “We know just the place!”, and before you could say osiem piwo, the 16 of us had become Café Absinthe.

Two of them were twins. They played the ‘who do you think is the older one?’ game, a minefield at the best of times. I chose the taller one. Dave declared undying love for one of the other girls (“What are the chances of her forgetting she’s got a boyfriend?” slurred Dave to her friend). One of the other ones was a hot, professional abseiler. I could go on but to suffice to say it was a pleasant evening for all concerned.

In conclusion I would recommend Poland. Ok so no one actually scored, but it was more about the kind of male bonding that can only be achieved by wrestling Lewis in your pants, or a cutting Carl put down or waking up in the bear like hug of Al’s strong arms.

And credits go to Dave for being the only person to make it down to the breakfast selection of cold meats, tuna and fish parts on every single morning of our stay.

Polski polski!