Upon boarding Hans Peter’s bus to leave Berlin, I think a lot of the boys weren’t prepared for the gruelling nature of the 7 hour drive ahead of them. This drive, of course, was to reach Krakow, Poland.
Our first stop on the journey through the Prussian countryside was at a small service station surrounded by complementary restaurants – bearing comparisons to Goulburn in NSW. The most interesting element of this stop was a small, single roomed building with ‘HOT FUN’ and a neon ’24 HOUR’ sign sprawled across the front and side of the structure. To myself and nick at least, this was somewhat of a welcome to Poland, letting us know that we were well and truly out of the Berlin city centre. The lunch was a true Polish lunch of sausages, pickles and bread, and for many of the boys this was a long antidisestablishmentarian relief after a long gruelling bus ride.
During the second leg of our journey the boys passed the time through two ways. The first, a several hour long session of Mafia – a card game taught to us by Max McKay. The game was unfair because I, Nick Jackson, kept dying first. The second was far more exciting however, involving the playing of hits from the 00’s like ‘You Belong With Me’, ‘Love Generation’ and ‘Forever Young’. This was unanimously enjoyed and lasted the last few hours of the trip.
Following the gruelling trip, we arrived at Poland’s Salt Mines. For many of the boys, myself included, this was one of the more surreal experiences – with the mine extending well over 1.5km into the ground.
Our guide’s monotone, droning voice was countered, by his deadpan delivery of jokes with punchlines like, “smoking kills”, “he sketched the last supper, I guess it was his last”, and “don’t drop coins in the fountain, I have done it many times and I am still not the owner of the mine”.
This was a welcome sideshow to often overwhelming underground chapels, statues and lifts – all of which were unlike anything the boys had ever seen. It was easy to lose yourself in each new section of the mine, forgetting you were underground at all.
After meeting back up with Hans Peter and travelling to our new hotel, we quickly ate, and slept. For the lads, these two events blurred to one after an exhausting day of driving, singing and exploring. We were now in Krakow.