Issue No.19 – Sopot (Part 1)

At the end of the last blog ‘And The Beat Goes On’ we three amigos were about to make our way to Sopot. Oh yes, Sopot, a small (but apparently very popular) seaside resort on the shores of the Baltic Sea in northern Poland, and the home of the equally popular (at least in Eastern Europe) International Song Festival which we (and I suspect most of the UK) had never heard of. Anyway, to those in the know, the locals regarded the event as highly as The Eurovision Song Contest and as such it was widely televised, so on the face of things we were very lucky to be given the chance to take part. 

Of course you can’t go in for a song contest without an original song so after looking at what we had in the way of ideas we eventually sat down and wrote Send Me A Letter after which a tape of the song was promptly sent off to the festival organisers. The song was thankfully accepted so we quickly packed our bags and headed for the airport! 

It came as no surprise to us to find that there were no direct flights to Sopot so we needed to make a stopover at Warsaw and were really glad we did because it gave us a chance to explore the city. We pushed the boat out (or horse actually) and took a carriage tour… we really enjoyed this right up until the time the driver told us how much it was going to cost. That’s what you get for playing tourist! For the amount he charged Mick was convinced we must have bought the horse! The driver was not amused at his suggestion, although I think the horse might have appreciated a career change. 

I have to say though the tour did leave a lasting impression on us. I’m no historian, but even I know that by the end of World War 2 the German army had reduced Warsaw to nothing more than a pile of smouldering ruins. Undaunted by this, the citizens of Warsaw took it upon themselves to rebuild everything just as it had been before 1939. I remembered seeing a film of the city in flames but when we saw it on that day you could have been convinced that the streets and buildings had stood untouched for centuries. Oh, to have so much love for your city! So we were very much taken by Warsaw and would have loved to stay for a few more days but we needed to leave the following morning to catch our flight to Gdansk and then on by coach to Sopot. 

It felt good to finally arrive at our hotel but we were surprised to see a crowd of people outside and as it happens (seriously) they were waiting for us! We found out later that we were the only British act to be taking part in the competition and as such, I guess, everybody there presumed we must be famous back in the UK. Stepping off the coach we were surrounded by people brandishing festival programmes and photographs for us to sign. This probably all sounds very exciting and glamorous but never having experienced this before it came to us all as a total shock. On top of this we were all pretty exhausted and were glad when we finally made it to our room to get some long overdue rest. 

The next day, breakfast, then a chance to meet the festival team and our fellow performers. They all seemed very friendly but of course the smell of the grease paint and the roar of the crowd could quickly change all that!

To be continued...

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