With travel and football being my main two interests, it would have been my dream to write a guide to Euro 2012. My weekend break to the Polish city of Poznan should have been the first of several research trips before entertaining and enlightening you all, but with this visit being a particularly brutal stag-do, I saw little of the city other than the inside of various bars. However, two things I did see plenty of were the local beer and the gorgeous Old Market Square, and the spurious link between the two.
After checking in, we headed straight to the city’s huge main square, known locally as Stary Rynek. The square is lined with bars with terraced areas so we sat in the sun like true Brits abroad, with pints of the pride of Poznan – Lech. Like Boddingtons and Manchester, Lech and Poznan go hand in hand. It’s creamier and less gassy than the country’s other mainstream beers, and is my Polish beer of choice – most Wetherspoons pubs sell it in bottles, which don’t seem to taste quite as nice as the pints in its birthplace.
Lech’s logo which adorns pint glasses and beermats is that of two goats locking horns with each other. According to legend, the story behind the Poznan goats is that the Old Town Hall’s chef was once preparing a meal of venison, but burnt the deer so stole two goats from a nearby field as venison substitutes. The goats realised what was to become of them and escaped from the kitchen, running up to top of the Old Town Hall’s tower before circling it and fighting each other.
Like the Astronomical Clock in Prague, Poznan’s wedding cake-like Old Town Hall’s tower has a puppet show every day at noon which features two mechanical goats bashing each other’s horns preceded by a bugle call. Unfortunately, I missed the show on the two days I was in Poznan, either boozing or paintballing. However, with bars on all four corners of Stary Rynek, I had plenty of time to view the pastel coloured buildings of the square and the Old Town Hall with its pair of stationary goats at the top, ready to ram.
Ryanair flies to Poznan from Stansted, Bristol, Liverpool and Edinburgh, while Wizzair departs from Luton and Doncaster.
The nine of us stayed in bunk beds in a hostel dorm about a five minute walk from Stary Rynek. If rumours are true that hoteliers in Poland and Ukraine have increased room rates by 1000%, doing the same thing would cost over £120 per night!
Matches in Poznan:
- Republic of Ireland v Croatia, Sunday 10 June 7:45pm
- Italy v Croatia, Thursday 14 June 5pm
- Republic of Ireland v Italy, Monday 18 June 7:45pm