Champions, Churches and Chaos

Poland's flag
Europe » Poland
April 22nd 2007
Published: April 22nd 2007
Edit Blog Post

Jasna GoraJasna GoraJasna Gora

A massive church and pope place in Cszetochowa, where Marios parents live.


One of the funniest and most memorable times in Poland was when Marios parents picked us up from the train station (we were so relieved to see them coz we didnt know where we were and werent sure theyd got the message). They took us to their house and fed us and then on the way to Marios apartment (before stopping so Marios Dad could by us beer!!! and sausages) we were listening to the radio and good old Queen came on. Marios parents dont speak English, and obviously we dont speak Polish, but 'We are the Champions' is apparently international language. There was one perfectly harmonised moment when Freddie was singing and everyone in the car joined in... it didnt last long coz Cherida and I dissolved into giggles. I will never listen to this song again without this memory being conjured!


Adelaides' title as the city of churches should not be bragged about openly in Europe. In Australia maybe, but in Europe the title is a joke. In Wroclaw its an absolute sham. Jesus is big in Wroclaw, and there are a plethora of places where you can say your prayers (in one concentrated area we counted four churches in shuffling distance of each other). All are beautiful, with magnificent stained glass windows and that quiet, peaceful feeling. I think it comes from knowing that the people around you in different reflective poses are really getting something meaningful from being inside the building, something unique for each but something that they really believe in.


I dont want to be negative, but Poland has definitley been our most challenging country yet. Our bus ride was and easy 5 hours from Berlin to Wroclaw, due to arrive at 4.30 am. At 12.30 I was rudely awoken by a gruff looking passport control man (I'm yet to get used to being nudged awake and grunted at at borders!) who took my passport and walked off the bus. Having heard horror stories about the Polish border crossing I immediately got worried, but my fears were allayed when he came back minutes later with a nice stamp on my passport. Ok, back to sleep. I-pod in, singing in my dreams and this time it was Cherida gently waking me saying 'I think this is our stop'. She'd been asleep too and the bus driver woke her telling her to get off the bus. It was only 4am, we werent expecting to be there for a little while yet. So we groggily unloaded our stuff and began to look for our hostel. Luckily we came across a friendly, helpful (if slightly dubious) character intent on helping us get on the right track, which we needed coz we had headed off in the wrong direction. On finding our hostel and dragging our elephant sized luggage up 4 flights of stairs we were not so politely told that our booking had been cancelled. Without notification! Luckily, there was a nice hostel just down the road, with vacancy and great couches for whiling away the hours before we could get in our rooms and finally sleep. Oh, and it was cold.
We had a pleasant visit in Wroclaw after this most unpleasant start and headed to Krakow. To a crappy hostel with a freaky man wearing a petticoat as a boob tube. Got out of there as quickly as possible and organised with Marissa and Mario (thanks guys- absolute lifesavers!) to go to Czestochowa and then Blachownia to stay at Mariusz' apartment. All went to plan here until we went to put the heater on- and the fuse blew. No problem, the friendly German speaking man upstairs fixed it for us. Twice. Then we decided to light a candle and go to bed. We got lights working in the morning and managed to boil the kettle for a cup of tea, then set out exploring Blachownia. The lake there was huge, and looked like a good spot for fishing which I intended to do in the days following, until after arriving home from the shop our plans began to change.

Im gonna let Cherida tell this bit coz Im not quite over it! I would just like to say sorry to Mario, Marissa and Rebekah for the late night phone calls, and a big thankyou to Mario for introducing us to his family. The time we spent with them is a major highlight of our trip for me and their kindness overflowed the boundaries of language. Oh, and I want your Mum's recipe for the mushroom and pasta soup she made us.

So on my way back from the shops i was greeted out the front by the boy from the opp apartment (who I got to help us with the fuse the night before!) a couple of other guys and a lady all talking away in Polish. The lady then looked at me and was obviously talking to me which I could only reply "i only speak English" as I had NO idea what she was on about! She was then saying something about a 'drink' and started dragging me up the stairs in the direction of her apartment (opp Mario's). I then heard Amy's voice from our apartment saying 'Cherida just come straight up" so I immediatly knew something was up! The lady however had other ideas and wouldnt let go of me...I tried to escape into our place but she followed me in and wouldnt leave. The whole time she is still ranting on in Polish! Amy and I were politley trying to get her to leave when she then started kissing me on either cheek and then grabbed me around the waist and was trying to lift me out into her appartment! I wasnt to concerned up until then. Her grip was getting tighter and tighter around my waist and I was quietly starting to shit my pants! Eventually with the help of amy and the crazy ladies son I managed to escape and we were able to shut her out and quickly lock the door behind us!

We then both sat down thinking 'what the hell was just happening?!' Amy told me that when she came back from the shop she was given the same greeting except the lady mananged to get her into her appartment where her 1/2 naked husband was sitting on the couch! Then came the shot of vods!! Ok so Polish hospitality a little different to Oz! So Amy starting to feel a little uncomfortable (as you would) was able to get out by saying she had to go and wait for me. So she went back into our place which came followed by a knock on the door....crazy lady back and again dragged Amy into her apartment and then locked the door and even put her knee up against the door to try to keep her in!! So this is just going a little too far!! So somehow Amy manages to escape for the second time!

After all this we are sitting in Mario's too scared to make a sound or even move! The crazy lady continued to knock aggressively on the door up until about 9pm! So we were so pleased when Mario's Dad came to our rescue the next day to take us back to their place! Aahhh the memories!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 26



On the train from Krakow to Czestochowa
Bloody Fuse Box!!!Bloody Fuse Box!!!
Bloody Fuse Box!!!

At Marios house struggling with electricity
Anyone for sausage?Anyone for sausage?
Anyone for sausage?

"I can't smile""I can't smile"
"I can't smile"

Time for pampering!!
Oh Holy OneOh Holy One
Oh Holy One

This pope was very calming
I like this scene...I like this scene...
I like this scene...

A homeless woman curled up on the bench under the popes protective arm.
Chez and NanaChez and Nana
Chez and Nana

We love Nana- she was so sweet and cried when we left!!!

8th May 2007

U lived to tell!!!
Oh the memories, just think of it as an exciting story to tell. Lets hope nothing else happens that makes u feel unsafe. Bec x
9th May 2007

Hey Amy, wow some crazy stories I don't think you'll ever forget! Glad everything kind of worked out in the end! Loved all your photos as always! I look forward to going there one day! Marissa xxxx
9th May 2007

I've paid my dues - Time after time - I've done my sentence But committed no crime - And bad mistakes I've made a few I've had my share of sand kicked in my face - But I've come through We are the champions - my friends And we'll keep on fighting - till the end - We are the champions - We are the champions No time for losers 'Cause we are the champions - of the world -
10th May 2007

What a story about the crazy woman!
but I bet you can laugh about it now. Hopefully I may make it to Poland one day too. Enjoying very much hearing about your Europe travels. Love Karina
10th May 2007

oh my goodness
You two are keep coming up smiling! I would be terrified of the crazy lady and certainly wouldn't like being woken at 4am. There are so many positives though...isn't it great what some people will do to help you when they don't know you but just want to help. Makes me feel the human race might survive after all!

Tot: 3.149s; Tpl: 0.053s; cc: 22; qc: 139; dbt: 0.0826s; 3; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 3; ; mem: 1.7mb