He has the cheekiest smile!
The other day, as I was returning to a 1 night stop (all other hostels chock-a-block with footie fans) in a very rubble strewn area near Gdansk town centre, I found myself alongside Grigor who had just ridden goodness knows how far and was looking out for somewhere to stay. So we bounced along the cobbles together in case there might be a room for him and then parted in a very friendly way. I wondered if he had found a room or whether he was going to have to camp.
Who should turn up several days later under the magnificent castle walls of Malbork today, but my happy friend.
Grigor is quite something. I gather he works in logistics for both Poland and the Czech republic, so he is fluent in Czech. He thinks nothing of cycling all over the place by glancing at a map and then memorizing his way. He has a lovely girlfriend whom he may marry one day, and I saw a picture of her sister having leapt out of a plane at 4000 meters in a tandem parachute jump. ( he is less enthusiastic about the sister’s boyfriend, but he ‘has to because it is family’)
He joyfully got 2 less than joyful girls to take photos of us arm in arm (don’t I just have all the luck?!) and then over a beer I discovered that among other things, he does voluntary work for competitors in the Olympics for mental handicap, being some kind of a 24hour support coach. he has a dodgy knee and I wished I could have offered him some skilled help in addition to brief advice. He observed that I was a sensitive sort and that we both enjoy people.
The other night I so nearly said ‘if they don’t have room, there is a spare bed in my dorm’ (in Berlin with Tom and Beckie it was nothing unusual to be sharing mixed rooms). In fact, he had had to camp in the rain…
It was another of those absolutely delightful encounters that remind me why I am so fortunate to be doing this kind of journey … And yes, despite the occasional dip in nerve, what is so enriching is the ongoing goodness to be found in such unexpected ways and places.
Many thanks everyone, for all the wonderfully encouraging and supportive messages. I see there was a really early bird looking in again this morning before I left Gdansk. Hello whoever it was! (would you like to leave a clue as to who you are?!)