In a small village in greater Poland there are farms, houses, two identical conveniences stores, side by side, and a memorial to local pilots who defended the home land during the Second World War.  There was, however, something missing. It took me a couple of hours to realise exactly what.

“Where’s the local pub?” I asked of my host, who had grown up in this town.
“The what?”
“You know, ‘the local.’ The pub where all the people in the village go.”
“Why there has to be a pub?”
“Every village has a pub!”
“Not in Poland.”

I made immediate plans to return to Poznan on the next possible bus.

That evening, waiting by bus stop, we saw a bald man step jauntily out of his front door. He smiled at us – an unusual occurrence – and walked around the corner to one of the convenience stores. Five seconds later he came back clutching a small pint bottle of vodka. He gave us an even bigger smile, and disappeared back inside.

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