To Poland and Beyond

Boarding the Ryanair flight to Poznan last meant there was only one seat left. As luck would have it this was undoubtedly one of the best seats on the plane because it was next to a charming Polish girl called Daria.

Daria is a primary school teacher in London and was on her way to see her family for a couple of weeks. I chatted to her and an older woman named Iga using Daria as our Polish-English translator. On arrival in Poznan I had no idea what my plans were and so gladly accepted the offer of a lift in to town with Daria's brother in law Marek.

Marek's son and daughter had also come along for the ride to pick up their aunt. The three year old daughter understandably asked 'who is the strange man and what is he doing in our car?' Neither Daria or Marek had a good answer for this so the girl gave me a concerned stare and returned to her hand held computer game.

Thanking Marek and arranging to meet up with Daria later that evening for drinks I walked off in to the agreeable town of Poznan to explore and find somewhere to stay. My first day of the trip had started rather well with a free lift and a new friend but the run of luck ended with my card not working in any of the three cash machines I tried. I had no Zloty. The trip would be difficult without money so I phoned Barclays who came up with the inspired idea of just trying again. I sarcastically talked the man through me putting my card in to the machine and was surprised when it worked. I sheepishly apologised to the man for my impatient tone with him and looked forward to the idea of sleeping on a bed rather than a bench. The bed I had was in the excellently named 'Frolic Goats Hostel'.

I was sharing an eight bed dorm with one other guy, a Kiwi called Paul who among other things had been Wales' under sixteen hockey coach. I invited him to come out with me to meet Daria and we had a cracking evening chatting and laughing. Paul was meeting up with some hockey friends and so our evening ended in a club partying with the national women's hockey teams of Scotland and Wales who had been playing in a sort of second division world cup. I was like a pig in...

I chatted to a some of the girls, a couple of whom have a good chance of making the GB squad for the 2012 Olympics. I vaguely remember bringing out the line 'feel my t-shirt, does that feel like boyfriend material to you?', but my real attention was still with Daria while I tried to work out if she was flirting with me or just a naturally friendly person. It turned out to be both. We kissed. It was very nice. We said our goodbyes and I skipped all the way back to Frolic Goats. A brilliant way to end a superb first day of my trip to Eastern Europe.