POKRZYWNIK 11. An oasis on the edge of the Wild Gorge in Jizera
StefAnetki – it’s the signature of an exceptional couple who created an equally unique place. The signature, although perhaps unexpected, is not surprising at all – it reflects the charm of the Jizera agritourism stay Pokrzywnik 11, which was established 14 years ago. Even then, wise and nature-sensitive hosts Aneta and Stefan, served their guests only local, vegetarian cuisine.
I visited this version of paradise twice – in September and in May. Each time I was able to admire something different. The cycles of nature do not cease to surprise with beauty and harmony, but also flexibility in their periodicity. In Pokrzywnik, a five-leaf clover or a quadruple rainbow against the backdrop of a summer stormy sky is “only” a supplement to the rest…
Aneta and Stefan shared with Ethy their thoughts on the ecological approach to living in your reality.
Julia Mafalda: Since when have you been leading Pokrzywnik 11 and how did you get to this place?
Aneta Gieysztor: Stefan bought this house in 1988, already after graduation – he was looking for a place that would speak to him right away, and it happened. The place needed renovation, which we did ourselves. We used what was there – most of the furniture comes from the village of Pokrzywnik. We have been living here permanently since 2003, and we have been running a guest house called Pokrzywnik 11 since 2007.
JM: You create one of those unique places which was granted with the Ethy certificate – meaning your place can be found on Ethy Maps, where locations don’t appear by accident 🙂 You have already embraced us with your lifestyle on your Instagram. We came to meet you and learn more about your approach to the so-called ecological living. Where do you think it begins?
AG: Living in harmony with nature simply begins… in nature 🙂 In everyday rituals that reduce the destruction of the world. For us, the basis is such aspects as the rational use of environmentally friendly household cleaning products, reusing plastic if we happen to use it and ultimately throwing all waste into recycling bins. Respect for food in all its forms and thus not wasting food – whatever it may be. And, of course, saving water, electricity, gas, and whatever other resources we use.
JM: It’s great that you pay attention to natural cleaning products, respect for food, reusing and recycling items, saving resources. So, how do you prepare your famous meals and what is important about them? And what’s your favourite comfort food?
AG: The most important thing is that the meals should be prepared from what the land gives us at the moment: a vegetable garden, a forest or a pantry. Because the healthiest and best for the environment is to eat what grows close to us and is part of our life. We have our own garden and composter, so we don’t have to buy many products or use any artificial fertilizers. Our meals are simple, no meat or fish, but with a small amount of local animal products. My (Anetka) comfort food is a cucumber soup – it is different and always perfect at any time of the year 🙂 And Stefan’s comfort food is buckwheat – at any time of the year it is the same and always perfect :))
JM: In debates about sustainable living, it is often said that plastic is the evil of this world. Should all plastic actually disappear?
AG: We believe that plastic is a practical invention, but often people don’t know how to use it – they abuse it, throw it around, leave it anywhere… and it is bad and harmful to the environment and to all of us. In addition, plastic material, which is processed petroleum, has a large number of versions, treatments, applications and can even be very environmentally friendly – especially the plastic that is already there and we can use it well.
JM: And how do you use water, gas and energy?
AG: We have water from our own source, it is suitable for drinking. We save it a lot and we ask our guests to do the same, which they do with pleasure and with great understanding. We buy gas in cylinders and use it only for cooking, and we need electricity for all the other amenities – it drives the stove, hydrophore, lights up the house. Without electricity, it would be difficult to run a guesthouse and live in a modern, comfortable world. We try to save as much as possible by using energy-saving bulbs and turning off lights or devices when they are not needed.
JM: What kind of guests do you attract? Conscious, critical, laid back? Urban or rural?
AG: Most of our guests come from the city to rest in the countryside. They are very aware, care about the environment, respect the rules of Pokrzywnik 11. In fact, I would like all the people of the world to be like our guests 🙂
JM: Do you allow to organize events at your place, such as birthdays? If so, what are the rules for such parties?
AG: Yes, we sometimes organize birthday parties or even wedding receptions. The rule is that we do not bend our world for the client, but we jointly agree that we will not use disposable dishes, that there will be no plastic drink tubes, that we will pick flowers in the meadows…
JM: Do you have contact with the local community? Do people live in an eco-friendly way and in harmony with nature here?
AG: Unfortunately, we do not have much contact with local residents – we simply do not have time for it. Besides, people in the countryside live their own way, they have a slightly different view of ecology. But the seasons and times of the day create an organic harmony that has always accompanied people in the countryside.
JM: What about keeping forests and meadows clean?
AG: It’s getting better, tourists are more aware, and the inhabitants do not have to throw their rubbish into the forest anymore, because it is regularly collected by the municipal waste treatment plant 🙂 In this matter it is not bad … at least in Pokrzywnik.
JM: What advice would you give to a young couple who dreams of creating an eco-friendly accommodation in nature?
AG: The most important piece of advice: do what is in your heart. It has to be real and authentic. If nature is important to such a young couple, everything will be fine… 🙂
JM: Last but not least, I’d like to ask about your life outside of work and everyday life. Do you ever go on holidays? What do you do in your spare time if you have any at all?
AG: Yes, we go on vacation – not often, but with pleasure. In our free time, we read, listen to music and go for walks – in such circumstances of nature, a longer walk around means free time, rest and everyday life 🙂
JM: Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your world with the Ethy community – you are important inspiration and motivation! Let Pokrzywnik 11 always shine like this <3
interview by Julia Mafalda