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.
“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.