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Ben Aitken

Chip Shop in Poznan

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Why do the Poles leave Poland?

Travel writer Ben Aitken booked a one-way ticket to Poznan to find out.

This account of his year is a bittersweet portrait of an unsung country. Not many Brits move to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop. Fewer still come back wanting to be a Member of the European Parliament. In 2016 Ben Aitken moved to Poland while he still could. Curiosity took him to Poland, he wanted to know what the Poles in the UK had left behind. He flew to a place he'd never heard of and then accepted a job in a chip shop on the minimum wage. When he wasn't peeling potatoes he was on the road scratching the country's surface: he milked cows with a Eurosceptic farmer; missed the bus to Auschwitz; spent Christmas with complete strangers and went to Gdansk to learn how communism got the chop. By the year's end he had a better sense of what the Poles had turned their backs on - southern mountains, northern beaches, dumplings! - and an uncanny ability to bone cod.

This is a candid, funny and offbeat tale of a year as an unlikely immigrant.



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