Travellers tell of Paradise Lost
CHEF Gary Martinsons met and fell in love with Iwona while they were on working holidays in London. On bended knee, he proposed on Valentine’s Day.
They agreed to hold the wedding in Iwona’s home town of Gdansk in Poland, but while they were there celebrating in May 2008, they were assaulted and bashed by a group of thugs, for no apparent reason.
The hellish tale that followed, involving sickening injuries and mysterious interrogations by seemingly corrupt police, is reenacted in the Channel 9 docudrama Trouble In Paradise.
The series tells the stories of Australian travellers who have lived through terrifying experiences overseas.
Martinsons, 28, says the hastily organised wedding, which went ahead after the couple hid in the countryside from the thugs and police for two weeks after the bashings, had been the ‘‘light at the end of the tunnel’’.
‘‘We’d both sort of recovered by the day,’’ says Martinsons, who suffered broken fingers and ribs, a cracked eye socket and multiple broken teeth.
‘‘I had lung problems and I still had a few minor things — like walking was a problem and just breathing because I had a bruised lung and so forth — but we actually didn’t look too bad, considering what had happened.’’
Trouble in Paradise’s executive producer David Mason is full of praise for Greg and Iwona, calling them ‘‘fantastic people’’ who openly shared their experiences.
‘‘All the Aussies in the show, they are so pragmatic,’’ Mason, who is from the UK, says. ‘‘They say at the end, ‘wrong place, wrong time and I’d go back there in a heartbeat’.’’
‘‘So in a way the show is positive in that we go into the depth of terror and come out the other side.’’
Martinsons displays that very pragmatism by not holding a grudge against Poland.
‘‘It’s a sad thing because it’s a beautiful place, but it’s not going to stop me from going back,’’ he says.
Poles apart: the events involving Gary Martinsons and his wife Iwona are re-enacted for the series.