The summer of 2009 had yet another adventure waiting for me. Only a day after I got back from India I had to catch a plane to Poland. Yes, Poland! The World Rowing Championships were held over there and since my bro was in the stroke seat of the lightweight Dutch men’s eight I had to be there, obviously.
The rowing action took place in the city of Poznan. Yeah, you probably never heard of it. Me and the family stayed in somewhat (read: very) rustic little cabins on a somewhat (read: very) rustic little holiday park. It wasn’t bad and since I’m always a big fan of faded glory this was right up my alley!
Poznan turned out to be a serious gem. Seriously! In the heart of the city you’ll find this central square surrounded by beautiful pastel-painted historic buildings which gives it all a pretty romantic vibe. The sun sure helped a lot since it was amazing weather during the entire trip. Another cool sight in Poznan is the old brewery which has been converted into this very stylish shopping centre. There are various cafés and restaurants and I especially would like to recommend the Piano Bar, where you’ll find the best service, great food and friendly prices.
Of course the main reason for our stay was to see some rowing action. We’ve spent quite a few days at the stands at the rowing course while expressing our Orange heart. I’m so glad I came out because my bro and his boys actually managed to win a bronze medal. Very cool! And to celebrate the end of a very succesful championship we all went out to grab some drinks. I know, you’re probably thinking of smelly dark bars with funny tasting beers, right? Well, guess what? You can do some serious clubbing in Poznan! We had great fun at the Buddha Bar where you can sip (or simply down) G&T’s for a few zlotys while dancing your feet off under a giant bronze buddha. Good times!
After the championships me and my mom stayed for another week since me, myself and I was competing in the European University Rowing Championships (EURC) in the never-heard-of-city of Kruszwica. So my boys, our coaches, my mom and I checked into the “Athletes Hotel” which looked more like an abondoned, run down old Soviet apartment block. Oh wait a minute, it was exactly that. Everyday we drove out to the rowing course where we could enjoy some very healthy and nourishing meals (I think you get the sense of sarcasm right?). Okay, I’ll admit that it was pretty (very) cool to be selected to take part in an international rowing event like that and the run downness of it all actually made it even more memorable. Unfortunately, my coxswain qualities did not lead to a medal but at least us rookies can say that we got to compete with the big boys!
My mom and I also did some sightseeing in between training sessions and races and I have to say that Poland is a pretty fascinating adventure destination. I love the old Soviet feel and the rustic vibe in the countryside, and the urge to modernize that faded Soviet glory in the cities. And the fact that the zloty is crazy cheap is of course another big plus for Poland!