The Polish Wedding Prequel aka One Day in Mogilno
The Wedding Prequel starts in Mogilno
A town, where there are only 4 (yeap, that’s FOUR) taxi cabs, people have a heart of gold and you can buy the cheapest shoes in Poland.
But before I get to that, let me tell you how I have ended up in Mogilno in a first place.
Gąsawa versus Gąsów
It was Friday, early afternoon. I was traveling from an early morning and that’s because “someone” read the name of the town wrong;
/See, in polish language, mixing even one letter in a word can suddenly throw you 400 kilometers further from the place you thought you were originally going. /
That “someone” was a good friend of mine /reading glasses evaluation needed/ and although I was silently cursing the hour in which I’ve agreed to accompany him as a “plus one” to the wedding, I couldn’t back out. We were confirmed and booked, so a last minute “no-show” would be definitely remembered (and most probably avenged in a future).
In simple words, he had to go.
And as I always try to keep my word, I had to go with him.
The problem was, that the route to the destination was long and mysterious. We had to take two trains, a taxi and afterwards find a way to teleport ourselves from hotel to the church and then back to the wedding venue. Without having a car or a public transport on hand.
So basically, counting on some kind strangers.
“The Wedding Prequel” begins
Quick fast forward to Friday and I’m still cursing the situation a little, but I’m also getting slightly excited.
Yes, I am not sure how the half of my journey will look like, and yes, I haven’t fully figured out how to get to the airport the next day, but come on… it’s an ADVENTURE!
/Did I mention, I’m a sucker for adventures?/
An adventure was granted as not only we didn’t know HOW we will arrive to the final destination but also because “someone” discovered (a day prior to the wedding) that he may not be able to fit in his trousers.
“Do you think I can buy some elegant yet comfortable trousers in Mogilno?”
/I went with that dude shopping once; we were looking for a casual sports’ jumper. We were in one of the biggest shopping malls in Poland and it took us TWO HOURS to find something that would fit him. The guy is the size of a tower./
“Sure” – I answered though. Mainly because I always try to be people’s cheerleader.
And I believe in miracles.
“Mogilno Welcome to”
We went out from the train in the rain (rhyme not intended) and ended up in the middle of nowhere.
Meaning in Mogilno.
My friend was still on a business call, which was supposed to take “only half an hour” and got extended to 90 minutes. It was raining since the morning, so we were hiding in the train station area, under a little roof – he, discussing something very “business-y” and I, in a squat position (Thank God for Crossfit) trying to avoid placing my butt on a wet surface and watching some videos on YouTube.
/If I’m to make a throughout investigation now, that was the moment when I started catching a virus; courtesy of which, I was down with a severe cold for the entire week/
It was all fun and games until we realized that the wedding starts in less than three hours and:
- half of us is still on a business call
- we are 20 kilometers away from the wedding venue
- both of us look like some “hippy dudes going camping”
- the “trousers situation” is still unresolved
- we haven’t bought flowers yet
- and we are pretty much behind any schedule we ever had
Yet, I didn’t start to panic.
As I mentioned, I believe in miracles.
How to get a taxi in Mogilno aka “Look for the Box”
I got a “sign language” request from my friend /STILL on a business call/ to look for some transportation; while trying to organize a taxi, I’ve discovered that there are only 4 cabs in town.
Yeap that’s FOUR.
I’ve found the first number on the Internet. The guy picked up straight away but informed me he was on his way to Poznań, and advised me to call the second number from Google search.
“For sure he is available”
The second guy was busy and told me to call “The guy number three”. So I hung up, went on Google again and discovered there are no more numbers to call (except of number 1 and 2, of course )
Apparently, only 50% of the taxi industry in Mogilno implemented online advertising.
Not really knowing what else to do, I called” The number 2″ again and cried for help; he told me not to worry and look for the box at the train station: “The numbers to all taxis are there”.
What the fuck does it even mean?
“Look for a box” was as weird as “Follow the white rabbit” shit, but I’m a little fighter so I started to walk around the train station (with my head high and my high heel even higher) determined to find The Box.
Made three rounds.
Got soaking wet.
Realised, there is no Box.
There is no spoon.
/Matrix metaphors started to become more and more appropriate with every minute/
The train station was empty, so I activated “eagle eye” mode and started to look for any signs of humans.
“Doner Kebab” has the answers
The only living soul in approximately 1 km radius was a woman selling fast food in a small kiosk.
I found it interesting (and confusing) that she looked like a typical Slavic girl yet she runs a place called “Doner Kebab” (I guess we Poles are way more appreciative of foreign cultures than we get a credit for).
“Excuse me, do you know any taxi numbers in Mogilno?”
The look she gave me could imply that I’ve just asked her: “Does killing time damage eternity?” or something.
Apparently no. She doesn’t use cabs in Mogilno. No one really does.
“But there are taxis here?”
“That’s a good question actually”
After careful consideration, she says she may have something for me. A minute or so is passing and she’s back with an old and folded business card. She looks very accomplished, like a prehistoric man, coming back from a hunting trip with a meat for the entire month.
“There you go, I found this!”
I look at the number and I recognize that it belongs to a guy number 2.
“Ohhh…I called it already!”
The sparkle in hunter’s eye fades away in a second.
“Hmm… That’s all I know. Not sure if I can help you…” – and then her eyes sparkle again – “Maybe Kebab?!”
I’m pretty convinced that if I tell her I’m a vegetarian, she will take it very personally.
“Yyy… do you know by any chance where is THE BOX? – I ask in desperation, putting a very distinctive accent on “THE BOX”
“THE BOX? Sure, it’s there, on the other side of the street”
I’m so shocked and grateful that I almost consider buying the Kebab.
The Box is fucking real.
Mogilno to the rescue!
“The Box” is literally just some old, rusted, metal box hanging on the tree on the other side of the street. What makes it special is that it has dozens of stickers on it, with 4 taxi numbers in different shapes and colors.
I call “the guy number three” and I ask him if he can pick us up from Mogilno train station
“On my way, Miss”
I literally feel like a King Arthur who has just found the Holy Grail.
3 minutes later we are in a car; the taxi driver is really friendly and chatty/which kind of annoys my friend who is still on the “longest half an hour in a history of a humankind” business call/. He asks what bring us here and do we like the “city” so far. Simultaneously, my friend is poking me in the arm and making some energetic, yet slightly uncoordinated eyebrow movements.
I know what he wants.
“Do you by any chance know if we can buy here a pair of elegant trousers?”
“Well, of course, you can!” – the driver answers with a vivid conviction – “Mogilno is a county town!” – he adds, with a shade of a defensiveness in his voice
“I didn't mean to offend, but we kind of have a challenge here”
“How big of a challenge?”
“I would say…” – I look at my friend – “195 centimeters big”
The taxi driver peeks on my friend through the rearview mirror and evaluates the situation.
“I’m on it”
What happens in the next 5 minutes could be called “Mission Impossible” – just with a much lower budget and in a rather plain location. The driver makes a couple of phone calls to Agents “Maria”, “Krysia” and “Viola” and he gives operational details regarding “the situation”. With each call, our description changes from “some random out-of-towners” to “Two big-city guests, who are going to an extremely important gala and have a serious fashion problem that needs to be solved immediately by the entire town’s population”.
I feel like a celebrity. I am the Kim Kardashian of Mogilno.
The final exam
It almost feels like the entire Mogilno is going to its final high-school exam and will do anything to pass it with flying colors. We are being transported with a speed of light to the city center and when “the chauffeur” finally parks the car, we get very specific geographical directions where to go next. He promises to arrange the flowers while we are gone and also gives me a hint to check out the shoe shop on the way.
“Nice shoes and veeeery good prices” – he winks at me and I am not sure if he means it literally, or is it some kind of a “Mogilno code name” for a contraband joint.
But then we cross the street and huge red billboard attacks me with all its vividness:
“The cheapest shoes in Poland"
It was one of the most tempting moments of my life; I was really dying to see “the cheapest shoes in Poland” – not only because I’m “a shoe addict” but also because I really wanted to know how the cheapest shoes in the country look like.
Unfortunately the “trousers mission” was a priority and “Agent Krysia” was expecting us asap. We enter a shop called “Man’s Clothes” /surprise, surprise/ and we are welcomed warmly. I am trying to explain that we are in a hurry and it will be very difficult to find something that fits my friend, so “no pressure”, but “Krysia” evaluates the problem (meaning, “the giant”) and in a blink of an eye, pulls out 3 pairs of trousers.
“That’s just a warm-up” – she smiles and winks
This is unbelievable – it’s like the space-time narrative gets distorted. What usually takes hours, in Mogilno takes minutes. All trouser FIT. And all of them look great.
I’m truly impressed. I have no idea how she did it. And if I’m to make a financial statement, these are probably the cheapest trousers in Poland.
I see Mogilno in a totally different light now. It’s not just some remote small town, it’s the fashion capital of an inexpensive clothing and I just had the honor to discover it.
Still in shock, we are back with our chauffeur 10 minutes later.
“I told you, you will get your trousers” – he says proudly – “And now, we’ll get you some flowers”
A moment later we end up in a flowers’ shop that has a size of a big supermarket. It looks totally gorgeous and sells every plant available in this universe. Mogilno really makes me speechless.
I’m so hyped, I start to praise the city out loud while Agent “Maria” arranges the bouquet; while I’m “monologue-ing” with passion, she nods her head and listens to me with a funny smile.
“We may be a dump dear, but we do have everything you need” – she replies when I’m finally done.
And then she winks.
We indeed got everything we needed and it all happened with a speed of light. Mogilno is the best organised little unit I had a pleasure to visit and the warmth and helpfulness of people shall be, from now on, legendary.
The only regret I have, is that I didn’t manage to see the cheapest shoes in Poland.
But as Scarlet O’Hara used to say: “Tomorrow is another day”.
And maybe, another wedding.