ALTERNATIVELY THROUGH POLAND: ZDROWISKO IN KAMPINOS NATIONAL PARK
‘IMAGINE AN ARTISTIC HOME,
in which each object tells a story.’
BRZOZÓWKA AND ZDROWISKO – WHERE CAN I FIND IT?
Brzozówka is a tiny village located in the Masovian Voivodeship, 8 km from Mińsk Mazowiecki and 35 km from Warsaw. There are only a dozen houses there, and the population is less than 300 people. The village is surrounded by omnipresent lowland areas overgrown with forest or converted into arable fields. There aren’t any elevations above the horizon! A strange feeling when you are riding a bike for a few kilometers and due to the flat terrain, you don’t even have to change the gears! It seems like an ideal place for skaters and skateboard fans! And actually, Mr. Jacek, the owner of Zdrowisko, recommends this form of free time activity, while staying in his health resort - the most extraordinary holiday home in the area. Of course, this is only a fraction of the possibilities that this place has to offer. If you expect a country-style rustic cottage, you are wrong. Try to imagine a small manor house inhabited by a family of artists, in which each object tells a story, adding its interiors a kind of pomposity. The seeming tangle of styles in Zdrowisko introduces only temporary chaos in the organized mind of the city's minimalist arriving to this place, because it quickly turns out that everything has its place, as it was planned by the owner. Mr. Jacek is a sculptor and an architect (designer) of gardens. For several years now he has been devoting himself completely to Zdrowisko, investing all his time in the implementation of his dream venture, which, once he runs out of power, should serve as a private "nursing home" for him and his friends. And from the stories at dinner it appears that these friends are not just anybody! Actors, musicians, writers...a few remarkable names could be found, so if you are tempted to spend the night in Zdrowisko, be sure to reserve one evening for a chat with a glass of wine with the owner!
ACCOMMODATION IN ZDROWISKO:
Zdrowisko (which means the Health Resort) has as many as 14 beds located in five original apartments. Each of them stands out for something else: one has a mezzanine, in another there is a bathtub in the room or a bed made of piano. Noteworthy are the pillows filled with buckwheat seeds, at first glance they look very uncomfortable, but they ideally suit to the shape of the head and neck, thus providing a deep, restful sleep - be sure to try them! Apparently, you can also buy them from Mr. Jacek...
The easiest way to describe this place is as being decorated in a glamorous style, but such generalization deprives it of the artistic spirit that can be seen at every corner in many sculptures and paintings decorating all interiors. On the ground floor there is a recreation room with a fireplace, a kitchen (where magic happens behind the closed door), a spacious dining room with a huge table for 14 people and an exit to the terrace leading directly to the garden. Upstairs, apartments and a common space have been created, where you can relax, listen to music, or watch a movie projected on the big projector. Zdrowisko is ideally suited for a variety of workshops or as accommodation for organized groups, although individual guests are also welcomed here.
FOOD IN ZDROWISKO:
It is possible to buy food in Zdrowisko: breakfast, lunch, dinner – all together or as individual meals. Mr. Jacek offers traditional or vegetarian cuisine (although at our request he managed to prepare vegan breakfast and dinner), without wheat, but full of vegetables from his own garden and natural products such as bread, meat and eggs from a trusted sources (i.e. usually from his neighbors). Guests have 24-hour access to water, coffee and tea, and sometimes to some kind of cake, which will be baked by the hostess. Apartments also have wireless kettles, and a communal fridge is set up in the shared lounge. Meal times can be agreed with the owner on the spot, he will adapt them to your needs. We came to Zdrowisko in the autumn, that's why pumpkin, beetroot and potatoes reigned supreme on the table, all of it intensely seasoned and beautifully served. For example, for supper we got roasted pumpkin stuffed with buckwheat groats with mushrooms, and for breakfast porridge with nuts, cranberries and cinnamon, and delicious rye bread. If you're a gourmand, make sure to prepare an empty stomach 😉
ATTRACTIONS IN ZDROWISKO:
If the weather is good, you can take a bike trip around the area which is covered by the Natura 2000 program. This gives these terrains prestige and status of importance – it’s really worth visiting them! Bicycles can be rented for free on site - there are seven of them in stock. Although the glory years are behind them, they are suitable for flat, asphalt roads leading to various parts of the Kampinos National Park. Narrow streets rarely frequented by cars will be a treat for fans of roller-skaters and skateboards, but you will need to bring the equipment with you. The biggest attraction of Zdrowisko is a private swimming pond, built by the owner, where you can go swimming, also by canoe or boat. And it is best to jump from the jetty to the water, where the depth reaches two meters!
What if it's raining?
Relax, you will not be bored. In addition to the aforementioned home cinema room, you can arrange a yoga class, Ayurveda massage (extra payable) or a relaxing bath in a herbal tub. For those thriving for interesting company, I recommend talking to the owner. Be careful because he can easily inspire you to completely change your current lifestyle! 😊
For guests there are available:
• water, coffee, tea,
• cutlery, mugs and glasses,
• electric kettle,
• shared fridge,
• bath salt,
•hair and body shower gel,
There is no possibility to use the kitchen in Zdrowisko, so think about getting the full-board. Moreover, there is no restaurant in the closest area.
HOW AND WHERE TO BOOK ZDROWISKO?
This can be done by the SLOWHOP search engine, which collects addresses of extraordinary guest houses in Poland. All you have to do is send a reservation request, wait for the answer and quote from the hosts, and then pay 30% of the total amount as confirmation.
You can also book directly on the owner's site HERE. Unfortunately this site is only in Polish.
1 night = 150 PLN / person (around 35 EUR)
2, 3, 4, etc. nights = PLN 100 / person per night (around 25 EUR)
In case of longer stays and renting the entire facility, the price should be agreed individually with the owner. The number of beds can then be increased to sixteen.
breakfast = 20 PLN / person (around 5 EUR)
dinner = PLN 50 / person (around 12 EUR)
dinner = PLN 30 / person (around 7 EUR)
* it is possible to get vegan meals for a larger group of people, but the food is prepared by Mr Jacek's neighbor for PLN 120 whole (around 28 EUR).
Ayurvedic massage 1.5h = 200 PLN (around 47 EUR)
Schiatsu massage 1h = PLN 120 (around 28 EUR)
Yoga 1h = PLN 150 (around 35 EUR)
KAMPINOS NATIONAL PARK:
The Kampinos National Park was created in 1959 on the Central Mazovian Lowland. On the area of over 38 thousand hectares, there are vast areas of the Kampinos Forest, located in the Vistula's (Poland’s biggest river) glacier valley. Most of them are covered with dense forest, in which mixed trees and pine trees predominate. It is estimated that there are more than half of native animal species in the park, including a small population of black storks and herons. Since 2004, the Kampinos National Park belongs to the Natura 2000 areas due to the abundant plant diversity and the richness of bird species.
The Kampinos National Park is just 30 km from Warsaw, thus offering a kind of escape from the urban jungle to the busy inhabitants of the capital. They have 350 km of walking routes, 200 km of cycling routes, horse-riding routes, car parks and relaxation poles. More information and current route maps can be found HERE. The most interesting is the red trail leading from Dziekanów Leśny to Brochów, showing the full spectrum of the park's landscape. It is also worth coming to Żelazowa Wola to visit the home of Fryderyk Chopin, as well as visit the graves and partisan cemeteries from 1944 (the closest one from Zdrowisko is in Wiesze). On the official website of the Kampinos National Park you can find an exhaustive tourist guide to download (unfortunately it’s only in Polish).
Zdrowisko is an interesting place especially for people with an artistic spirit, or for those who still seek theirs. Located on the outskirts of the Kampinos Forest, it offers many attractions related to admiring and resting in the bosom of nature and learning about Polish history. I truly recommend this place not only to the inhabitants of Warsaw!