Day One: To the East…

Why we ever thought to meet hours away from our houses will forever be a mystery.

Yet this is how it all begins; by taxi, train and bus – all the way to Kingston Upon Thames.  Yes, Kingston-Upon-Thames.  What of it?  

We gather in the garden, for rum.  We even have a splash of coke and some mixed vitamins juice to wash it down with!   Our taxi is not until 03:45, so we spend our hours recounting past glories.  Eventually, however, fatigue overwhelms us all and we head in for sleep.

We set alarms.  Two of them.  We will not miss this taxi…

At 03:45, Annie bursts into the room.  The taxi has arrived!  What happened to the alarms?!  Panic sweeps through the ranks. We are cursed by the Gods!

Luckily, we have not spread ourselves too thin and are soon stumbling  down the street.  Check-in closes at 05:00 – we are in a rush.

The taxi driver, by contast, is in no rush.  Nor, would it seem, does he have any intention of being in a rush, as he cruises down the M23 at a cool 40 miles per hour.  I consider opening his veins and taking this vehicle myself.  I manage to keep the rage to a minimum.

Midway through the journey, it transpires that both Debbie and Matt set their alarms for 04:30 instead of 03:30.  I am surrounded by fools.

Nevertheless we make it and – mere hours later – land in Poland.  A bus arrives, to take us 25 ft from the plane to the terminal building and our bags first on the baggage rail – we are beloved of the Gods!

Outside the airport, another bus takes us 200 metres before a voice announces that we will now be boarding a fast train into the city.  We do as we are told and soon arrive in Krakow.

By this point, we are ravenous for pancakes.  An elongated search leads us to Camelot – not exactly home of pancakes, but a damn fine looking cafe.  We nearly go inside, but  are met with  furious glares from superior humans, plump with money and pride.  On second thoughts, let’s not go to Camelot.  Tis silly place.

Back to the street, mind on pancakes,we stop in at a hostel to ask about rooms.  “Are you heavy drinkers?” they ask.  Naturally, we assume this is the palace of the ever-rock and we are expected to obey the one law; never stop partying.

“Aww yeah!” we answer.  His expression hardens.  Shit.  “No?  Maybe…  What?”  We bumble and stumble, but the deed is done.  We have shat on our own faces, so to speak.

Apparently this hostel has had lots of trouble with English pissheads.  We try to explain we’re different; they get drunk and sing football songs.  We…get drunk and sing Viking ballads.  Totally.  Fucking.  Different.  No?  OK cool, we’re leaving.

Back to the streets again.  By this point, we have just about given up hope of finding pancakes.  After all, we’re not exactly going to find somewhere selling delicious pancakes on the corner of the main square of Krakow.

We turn the corner.  Speedy Edy’s House of Pancakes, you say?  Done.

Matt has blueberrys and cream.  I have apple and cinnamon, because I am Lord of Men.  We feast.  Oh how we feast.

We then walk once more.  Despite having the best of names and being decorated with a mural of a giraffe pulling a chariot, Giraffe Hostel turns out to be too expensive.  We curse the Gods and sign into Yellow Hostel, where everything is yellow.

A nap and a fine dinner of smoked meats and cheese later…we head into town.  What’s this, pelts for sale?  Why are we not immediately robing ourselves in these skins?  We drag ourselves onwards.  No soon have our eyes left the skins, than we spy the next stall – the weapons stall.

Flintlock pistol?  Full length spear?  God damn GLADIUS?!  Arm yourself, Bunn!

Alas our inner weaklings deny our otherwise Champion-like approach to life.  They remind us that customs may be an issue.  I swear to read into British law regarding the import of dangerous weapons.

Then again, who is really going to mess with the guy who draws a gladius from benath his boar skin robes?  Not I, sirs, not I.

We resolve to drown our sorrow at not possessing any kind of horrifically dangerous weaponry.  What we really want is a nice rock bar.  We are handed a flier; best rock and blues bar in town?  Done.

What’s this?  Underground?  Shields on the walls?  Is that armour?  A sword?!

Quick, beer!  One pound twenty-five, you say?  More beer!  We settle down and drink.  Whiskey in the Jar hums from the jukebox.  Whoever the fuck invented this place needs a hundred medals, each larger than the last.

Mid-way through drinking, we nip home to shower and change.  Also, we need coffee.  The coffee is, however, foul…so we top it up with beer.  Coffeebeer.  Right?

Coffeebeer is awful.  We have to drink it in one.  We hate us.  Back to Tower Bar, quick.  What’s this?  Obscure Polish punk kareoke?  Why not?

Eventually, kareoke turns from punk to classic rock.  It’s then only the tiniest of leaps to Tenacious D.  Our time has come.  Who needs a microphone when you’re a thousands pints down and surrounded by shields?  Not us.

Shit goes crazy.  Nothing explodes, but survival becomes a challenge.  We drink, we smoke, we sing – finally, we steal two beers and escape into the night.  What have we become?

At home, we collapse. Hungry, I take out our cream cheese…and spread it across my face.

Sleep is a blessed relief.

About the Author
Ed Gamester is a silly man who lives in the United Kingdom. He is the harbinger of Ghost Squad, singer of Gay Bum and author of A Rum Run Awry. He fights, kills and dies for TV and films, and gallivants around the place wrestling, drinking and lifting things for glory and profit. Where Ed treads, there stamp the boots of the Guild. Ed does not wear glasses, but feels this photograph makes him look more intelligent and artistically talented than he is. Feel free to contact him: he is disappointingly affable.

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  1. pixie Reply

    leaving aside my mirth and jealousy- a quick google tells me that as of july 2011 you may import hand-forged straight blades to the UK. Whether that means in hand-luggage or posted home in a safely-padded crate is unclear… but good luck, brave warrior. xxx

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