It seems unbelievable that on a public holiday a national museum in the middle of the countryside had absolutely no refreshments to offer visitors. Whether the state employed management has deals with private restauranteurs in the village to provide a flow of famished and thirsty clients I couldn’t possibly say. It may be just a lack of imagination, though what emerged later on in our visit provides food for thought.
As we were walking through a clump of trees with lunch on our minds, suddenly, there before us, mirage like, emerging from the undergrowth, stood a hospitality tent. We approached joyfully. Laid out on the counter was a huge array of fresh and healthy country fare, everything to raise the spirits of the culture exhausted on a cold and damp spring morning: gherkin and lard sandwiches of thick white bread, pancakes, local soups, coffee, newly baked cakes and what was that clear liquid in an unmarked bottle? We were soon to find out. Seeing us approach, the six local women of a certain age behind the counter busied themselves with greeting us in a way that was as heart warming as unusual. They served us with enthusiasm. And we were equally enthusiastic to order once we got wind of the prices. 2 pln for a sandwich. I checked my Polish. Really? This put Starbuck`s into context. And the amazing thing was that it was all for us! With the park full of people and this food and good cheer waiting to greet them, why, I wondered, was no one else here? The reason quickly became apparent. It is a perplexing story of which I shall tell you more tomorrow.