Garden Ornaments or Declaring Independence
It was fantastic to have a good shower in the morning
and get the grime of the trail off of my back before heading down
to breakfast. Then it was time to get them doggies rolling (they
were obviously very round doggies) and head back west (south west)
out into the Polish wilderness.
Other than the fact that they obviously breed Alsatians
with bears in Poland the wilderness wasn’t actually all that wild.
In fact it mostly consisted of driving down roads and staring out
of the windows. Playing the ski game with the radio had become old,
so I humoured Jonathan with his new game which
was taking pictures of all of the bus stops as we went by. I was
slightly concerned that this was only a small step away from ending
up with an indexed catalogue of pictures of telegraph poles but
I played along on the grounds that it probably makes waiting for
a bus slightly more surreal if someone drives past in a clown van
and takes your picture while you’re standing there for no apparent
This kept us entertained up to
the point where we were happily driving down the road, and I spotted
a Mig fighter jet in someone’s front garden. Now most people are
happy with a few flowers and maybe at a push, the odd gnome or two.
Maybe clip the hedges into exotic shapes if you’re really bored
on a Sunday. There are of course cases where people will leave a
car in the front of their house while they work on it, and maybe
that’s what was happening here. Maybe whoever owned this house simply
had it as a ‘little project’ they were working on. Something to
do on a Sunday afternoon. Pop out into the garden and ‘tinker’ with
the Mig after dinner. Maybe they intended to declare independence
from the rest of Poland at some point. Just what we need, More Polish borders. Anyway, we
headed back to take a few pictures. I do feel now I should have
wandered up to the house and asked them where they got it, although
to be honest, what with Jonathan’s fear of guns, maybe approaching
someone who owned a fighter jet wouldn’t have gone down so well.
So we headed on. Taking pictures
of bus shelters seemed a bit of an anti climax after the Mig so
that game faded away. It’s probably worth noting that we’d decided
to take a detour on the way home, and head to Prague
for a day. I’d not been there before, and on the journey up we’d
decided that on the way back we would take a little more time and
find ourselves a city to stop in where we could ‘go out and play’.
I suggested Prague simply because I’d heard it was cool, and it wasn’t that far
out of the way. I only mention this now because it explains why
we spent the entire day driving through Poland, and didn’t do an awful lot else.
We decided to ‘do’ Warsaw as we passed rather than take the ring road. For those unaware of
the term, ‘doing’ a place is a term originally coined by American
Zen Tourists in the seventies. It means that you can claim to have
been somewhere because you passed through it, even though you may
not have actually stopped at any point (hence such phrases as “we
did Europe in a week in June”). Apparently, it’s about the journey, and
not the destination, hence the term ‘Zen Tourists’. We got
lost, so the journey was far more enlightening that it may otherwise
I’m not sure how long it would
normally take to ‘do’ Warsaw
but we went round and round in circles for a good few hours before
finally getting up enough momentum to break free of its obviously
enormous gravity. Points to note about Warsaw – they have a garage where you can
buy the best chocolate biscuits in the world. As I said, we didn’t
exactly stop to see the sites, so that was the highlight. They were
very good biscuits though.
We then headed down to Wroclaw where we planned on spending the
night. We rolled in as the snow was starting to come down in the
early hours of the morning, and we then had the usual trek as we
rolled around the city looking for a suitable hotel. We found one
of the generic chain type of places (no cowboys this time), which
I’d never heard of but Jonathan had, but it was a hotel and that
was good enough for me so we booked ourselves in and then headed
out to get some food. Unfortunately, there was a McDonalds just
next door, but fortunately it was shut, so we headed over the road
and grabbed some bits and pieces from a garage forecourt shop as
it seemed that the entire rest of the city had closed for the night.
On the journey down from Warsaw
we’d passed a McDonalds, that was placed next door to a church,
and it struck me as ironic, or perhaps iconic, how the ‘golden arches’,
or ‘huge yellow streaks of piss’ as I like to call them were actually
placed higher than the church steeple. Whilst it’s hardly surprising
that this capitalist icon has suppressed the spiritualist ideal,
because heh, people would rather be fed than dead whatever the politics,
it struck me as somewhat tasteless (add more salt – or maybe a lattice
of mayonnaise and ketchup) if not disrespectful. It’s cheap and
tacky and I’d love to see the applications for planning permission.
Having said that, this particular town also had more of the soviet
style tower blocks than I’d seen in the rest of Poland
put together and half of the people there probably thought that
the big yellow streak in the sky was an attraction. I have scary
visions of the future, where after the apocalypse, tribal people
dance around and pay homage to the big yellow upside down ‘W’ that
is all that’s left amongst the rubble. Maybe they’ll nail someone
to it. Maybe it will be a clown.
I would like to point out at this
point, that I’m a juggler.
We headed back to the hotel as
the freezing wind did it’s best to freeze our western assets, and
settled in for the night. Spurs were playing Fulham on the telly
which looked like it could be entertaining so we watched that for
a while. Looks can however be deceptive and I fell asleep half way
through it while it was still nil-nil and not looking like changing.