Next, how about a cheeky sit in a beer garden? Delicate slabs of butter sun etch over lightened wood. Weak light blushers out the near-off bar area. After-the-event Cokes drunk at snail speeds. On comes the hi-fi: Kings of Leon 'Because of the Times' - and myself and the P agree the opening four tracks are killer, the best thing the hairy, butch world dominance-wanting monsters have ever done. 'Knocked Up', 'Charmer', 'On Call', 'McFearless'. Totally smashing it, the pure perfect sweep. We settle into this subdued emotive listening, completely spaced out until, super-shock style, something truly astonishing happens.
Here she is. Perfect figure. Face full of life. Dark blonde hair. Beautiful. Looking directly into my eyes. Smiling. Still looking deep into my eyes - she knows I'm watching her. Although I know she's just out of reach. Untouchable this one. I have daydreams that I'll fall madly in love with her and run away to Poland. Hahahahahah! It would all be brilliant, the language barrier won't be a problem! I won't even talk to her in real life though, of course. I'm much too scared and merely give her a nervous, innocent glance as I wobble toilet-wards. Yet this one's gonna stay with me, I know. A little snapshot of a false, lust-blotched world, and one that is a fleeting beam.
So we move off out, back to the mundane, streets where I am not a superstar. Time is already dragging forward. Textureless weak blue skies at eventime on the bulging square, just after the stocky midsummer rain. My wilting faith is given a Viagra shock. Spill on to crammed churches, street-side taverns, and eat curry in a former cathedral. Oily papadums.
Double-quick home. Mr Saxobeat. Enter unconsciousness in a split.A cathedral inside a salt mine inside an underground kingdom
Monday now and we have decided. Salt mines. Michael told us the best way of getting to Wieliczka, yet we can't quite remember and are too stubborn to check with him. After another excellent omelette and latte, myself and the Professor, who's anxious for further Smash, speed up to the bus stop. Now, it seems as though Mike has scrambled down the number 304 in green biro on our trusted, sweaty and thoroughly crumpled map. We glance up at the huge vehicle parked in front of us. The number: 304. We jump on and within minutes the moving bee-ish object is side-to-side with trams, speeding cars, other people, the cog-work, the furnace of the city, then into more deserted territory, until we're a bit scared this might not be the correct bus at all. Houses become more scarce. Further green scenery. Until we reach a destination. Not THE destination, but somewhere. Anxious asking around results in a vague semblance of direction. Hills. Parochial outposts. Kebab shops.
Strange words in Polish - words that probably mean salt mines. We follow obvious tourists. We round the bend. We get tickets. We're led into the dark.
Sylvester. Our quiet, charismatic tour guide talks in funny broken Russian-English. We follow him at a speedy rate further towards the centre of the earth. 378 steps. Each one is a torrent. Yet we're there: humongous 'cauliflower' salt hangs from the ceiling.
Dim outer-space style passageways and Dickensian lighting all leading towards the edge. Stunning salt statues intermingled with shitty carvings trying to represent the workers of the 'day', whatever that was, a hushed respect among us visitors and Sylvester keeps cracking awesome jokes, including one suggesting we should throw our debit and credit cards in the wish pond before he returns to collect them later. He never looks up or looks anyone in the eye and ends every sentence with "is salt".
© Copyright 2016 John Maher