“Oh, it’s like an animal farm, lots of rural charm in the country. He’s got morning glory and life’s a different story” – Damon Albarn (1995, Blur’s “Country House”).
When you wander through nonchalant, unknown, yellow, rapeseed oil fields on a hot and gorgeous day in a Poland spring, you can feel the joys of life once again. Life took me to many obscure towns and remote villages in the past. One more step along the world I go…good morning Kokoszkowy!
My once popular tourist blog contains stories where I visited remote villages like Santa Ana Alta (Colombia), Isfiya (Druze Village), Mizra (Israel), Shahr e Kord (Iran), Poatina (Australia) all on a crazy journey to escape boring over backpacked towns and cities. In those instances, it was usually a real life honest travel friend who inspired my visits to their remote towns. I loved meeting people like Julio, Haya and Natalia and later visiting them in their towns, honest real people who could never cause my depression. My travel friends had also inspired previous Polish trips to Biskupiec, Zlotoklos and Holy Pelplin. Next up on the radar was charming little Kokoszkowy, again inspired by a travel friend, the way life took me today, I was alone and depressed. However, I chose a great day to backpack Kokoszkowy’s sights and again, this might be the first ever stand alone tourist article on Kokoszkowy to be written and published in English. There is a great article on Kokoskowy here by Hayley Grace but her article features some other towns too. I decided this village deserved its own article, mostly for the charming yellow fields…
“It’s all too beautiful” – Small Faces.
Kokoszkowy is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Starogard Gdański, within Starogard County in the Kociewie Region of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, in Poland. It is about 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) north of Starogard Gdański (but realistically much less as I walked it and found only a 5 metre border) and 42 km (26 miles) south of the regional capital Gdańsk. The village has a population of 1,430, one church and residents are mostly Roman Catholic.
As you might know, I have been studying Polish in Gdansk and Warszawa so I did wonder what Kokoszkowy meant. Oddly coconut translates as kokosowy, so not quite kokoszkowy. Though I did wonder if the Polish legitamately can call that a “mini coconut”, in the same way that Zabka is a baby frog. Coconut Town has a nice ring to it, though this adventure was zielony ( green – street, my football shirt, fields), żółty (yellow – rapeseed fields) and niebieski (blue sky). I have also since discovered on Hayley’s Blog that it perhaps means “Hen’s lair“, a nice sounding name for sure!
Getting to Kokoszkowy
There is no train station in Kokoszkowy, nor an airport or seaport. Kokoszkowy is a small and quite remote village. The easiest way to get here is by bus from Gdansk. While the buses from Gdansk are once an hour (roughly) during daylight hours, I was actually based in nearby Starogard Gdanski (for the famous Kazimierz Deyna 70 year birthday party). It was a pleasant day and I always try to keep fit by walking or cycling, so I walked it. It didn’t take me long from Starogard Gdanski to get here, across the train line. Twenty minutes should do it.
If you want to get the bus, Bus number 400 stops here, as well as some local buses. Fares are cheap. I used Starogard buses quite a bit and they were normally 2,20 zloty each (45 pence).
Accommodation in Kokoszkowy
Again, I could be wrong here but I didn’t see any hotels or guesthouses in Kokoszkowy itself and Google searches also revealed none! However, you can stay like I did in nearby Starogard Gdanski at the excellent Hostel Famil (most recommended – 4 kilometres away), Hotel Ren (3.3 kilometres away) or the Noclegi Rekord (3.7 kilometres away). Very cosy and friendly!
Of those sleeping options, Hotel Ren is the swankiest and best and also includes a fantastic brewery within its complex – Browar Kociewski. However the Noclegi Rekord is the budget option and includes an amazing museum tribute to Kazimierz Deyna, local hero from the 1970 World Cups and Olympics (where he starred!). So it is well worth a visit! But choose Hostel Famil – my pick.
This makes it even better – you either just go there on a day trip (or like me a half day trip was enough) or you can have some local contacts who may let you stay with them a night. I have stayed with lots of Polish families down the years and even attended a cool Polish wedding in Pomlewo, so this is another great option. You can of course try Couchsurfing, though I am not a huge fan of that.
Arrival in Kokoszkowy
There is a clear part of the road where they let you know you have left Starogard Gdanski and are now in Kokoszkowy. I am greeted with a nice welcome sign on arrival, and fields of pure beauty.
I continue my walk past the entrance sign until I arrive at the first actual residential street in the town, Ulica Południowa, on the right. From here I decide to do a loop and come back on myself to return to Starogard Gdanski the same way. These are my top ten sights, regrettably without a cafe, bar or football stadium but hey maybe that’s the charm…I found my football stadium at nearby Starogard Gdanski anyway…hey Deyna!
1.Entrance Sign to Kokoszkowy
As I mentioned, there is a clear part of the main countryside road (ulica Gdanska) where they let you know you have left Starogard Gdanski and are now in Kokoszkowy. I am greeted with a nice welcome sign on arrival and behind it, fields of pure beauty. But it’s selfie time as I embarked on another quirky adventure – you might remember how I love “crossing borders”, even from town to town.
2.Yellow Rapeseed Oil Fields
This is absolutely number one sight here for me, pure beauty to admire and natural. Fields all around Kokoszkowy are awash with yellow in May and June. I have no idea if this is only for two months or not, but if you only have the chance to visit Kokoszkowy once in life, try and do it in May. You will be charmed. Check this out…totally inspiring!
I couldn’t keep my eyes off them and later made it a profile picture on my Facebook Page!
After seeing the yellow fields and being charmed, I turned right onto Ulica Południowa to dander through some of the residential streets. Some cyclists went past and some barking dogs, but otherwise, a very quiet and peaceful village. There are some parts still in development.
4.”Green Street”/”ulica Zielona”
Nothing to do with the Green Street football movie of course, but as a pure fire Zielonic Northern Irishman, my favourite colour as you all know is green. How amazing then that a tiny village like this had an Ulica Zielona (Green Street). Even better, it was near the start of my walk, I turned right onto Ulica Południowa and then a left onto Ulica Zielona! And it keeps with the crazy “colour theme” of my tour. Yellow fields, green street, blue sky!
I stopped for a selfie at the street entrance and enjoyed my walk all through the street, which had some green but was mostly just quiet houses. I thought back to the crazy St. Patrick’s Day party in Warsaw in March. There were some gaps on the street with no houses, presumably waiting for someone to buy the plot of land and build a house on it.
5.Kokoszkowy Village Square
In essence, it is not really a square here in Kokoszkowy, but a junction. The central bus stop is here and it appeared to me to be the only part of Kokoszkowy where three roads meet. There are houses on both sides and the road then leads up to the church.
6.Kokoszkowy Village Shop
Admittedly there is more than one shop in Kokoszkowy (as well as some local businesses) but I always feel bad visiting places and not spending money as a way to thank them. So I popped into the only local store that was open.
A local lady greeted me and I bought an Energy Drink and a packet of Green Zielona Onion crisps!
7.Village Map and Sign
I was excited and surprised that a village this small still had a cool map and some tourist information, on two separate boards. These things never cease to surprise and amaze me about Poland! It felt like I was being welcomed without actually meeting anyone.
There were actually 23 points of interest on the map here! But yet some of them didn’t make my top 10 and others that I included weren’t on here! Still, it was a good way to be sure I had seen most of the village.
8.Kościół Rzymskokatolici Swieto Barbary w Kokoszkowach
Well you knew a church would feature and Poland is so full of surprises. Here in tiny Kokoszkowy, they have a gem of a church! This one dates back to the 14th Century! It is called Saint Barbara’s Church of Kokoszkowy and is Roman Catholic. There is a graveyard and the church is very very pretty. Sadly it was closed at the exact time of my visit, and I couldn’t wait until the 6pm service to get inside and experience it.
I took some of this information from the church notice board and tourist information and the rest, I found it on Wikipedia, so I hope I translated it OK, below the next few photos.
The church of the 14th century Joannites was restored between 1995 and 2013 by the local parish priest Fr. Mark Błażejczyk, with the participation of numerous people of good will. In the church there are:
– 1.Baroque altar from the early 18th century, carved, polychrome
– 2.Rococo side altars from the second half of the 18th century.
– 3.Wooden carved 18th century baroque crucifix.
– 4.Wooden baptismal font from the 18th century.
– 5.Two feretones from the nineteenth century.
– 6.Baroque altar “Crucifixion” in rococo, gilded frame Brass papal altar crucifix with inscription and date 1770
– 7. There are 2 bells on the church tower: “Barbara” – 265 kg from 1952 and “Nicholas”
9.Dom Swietego Jana Pawla II / John Paul The Second’s House
There is a house behind the church aptly named after Pope John Paul the Second. I said some private prayers in Kokoszkowy.
10.Grazing Deer and Pond
Wildlife arrived too while I backpacked through Kokoszkowy. Near the village square is a green area with grazing deer and a nice pond. As I stopped to take photos, all the deer stopped and stared at me for ages! It was highly amusing!
11.Jonny’s Bench Bar!
OK so it is really only a top 10, but as a football and beer loving Northern Irishman in Poland, I decided to make it 11. I had a bottle of Browar Kociewski beer in my backpack so I stopped on a bench in the village, to eat my crisps and beer and form myself a bar. Some locals walked past and said hello and then it was time to go…
Sadly, I didn’t find a pub, a hotel, a cafe, any souvenirs or a football stadium here in Kokoszkowy and perhaps that is actually the charm rather than the blemish. But I may have just been wrong, maybe there is a football pitch or a cafe here. If they do have any of these, please tell me and I will update the article. I was recently backpacking in a village of a similar size, Zlotoklos and they had a football stadium. But that was it my friends – I was in and out quickly of this village of Kokoszkowy and life moves on to the next adventure.
“We may never meet again, so shed your skin and let’s get started” – Neil Finn.
Other Web Information on Kokoszkowy
There isn’t a great deal of information out there on remote Polish towns like Kokoszkowy, and indeed my visits to previous smaller untouristic towns got featured in local media and hopefully they will make these places more famous and popular. I appeared here as a result of my village tours:
– Northern Irishman in Poland in Biskupiec News
– Northern Irishman in Poland in Starogard Gdanski News
– Northern Irishman in Poland on International Radio Poznan
– Northern Irishman in Poland in Tczew News
My research revealed that there were two other main sights in Kokoszkowy which would be hard to find and only locals would know them I guess:
- A dis-used granary from the 19th century, brick two-storey building, formerly used to store grain
- The palace of the court where the owners of the Wurtz family were living until World War II. In the 1970s the building was rebuilt, its floor adapted for housing.
As Kokoszkowy was so beautiful and picturesque, I thought I would post this table which nicely shows the percentages of what the land in the area is used for. Quite relaxing and peaceful findings:
Agricultural land – 501 ha (42.3%), Orchards – 7 ha (0.6%), Meadow – 108 ha (9.1%), Pasture – 4 ha (0.3%), Forests – 463 ha (39,1%), Wooded land – 2 ha (0.2%), Water – 1 ha (0.1%), Trenches – 7 ha (0.6%), Road – 28 hectares (2.4%), Built-up areas – 38 ha (3.2%), Undeveloped land – 14 ha (1.2%), Green areas – 2 ha (0.2%), Different areas – 3 ha (0.2%), Wasteland – 6 ha (0.5%).
It’s a busy crazy, topsy turvy life with times of depression, happiness, despair and hope. Perhaps my trip to Kokoszkowy was what I needed at this point in my life as I prepare for my reader tour and the month of June where I have a wedding, a stag party and the visit of friends.
Here are some videos from my time backpacking through charming Kokoszkowy: