Waking up at Frajda this morning was a calm start to the day: The sun shone through my window, the birds chirped from the trees outside, and the faint smell of last nights log fire comforted me as I strolled into the cozy living room for breakfast. Refreshing mornings in the countryside are always a treat for the senses, yet Frajda offered a start to the day which neared perfection.
After a hearty breakfast, we left the accommodation, passing the grazing sheep and lively woodland, and took to the road to meet a unique inhabitant of the area. The marshy fields either side of the road were littered with circular hay bales, which evoked a rural idyll. We continued down the lonely road, as if we were the only ones lucky enough to experience its splendor, until we reached a crossroads, where a still canal crossed our muddy road. We could see for miles in all four directions, but left the vehicle to wander along the bank of the water. A thick tree lay across the water, providing a picturesque crossing, over which we passed with trepidation.
We then advanced into a huge field with the car, in which grazed a large herd of wild horses. Their herd was a magnificent spectacle, yet we sought a rarer animal – one with horns and long coats.
A while longer down the track, we spotted our friends grazing in the distance to our left; then, to our right, our eyes met a few more of the animals. Trying to get a closer look, we entered into a wooded area, where we were startled to find a whole herd of Scottish highland cows grazing calmly among the trees. We slowly pulled the car to a halt, close enough to hear their deep breathing, and left the car to appreciate them fully. A few grown adults grazed next to their calves, protected by thin trees and boggy mug. We stood for quite a while, watching as they slowly left for the neighboring field.
They stared blankly back at us, unfazed by our clicking lenses and prying eyes.
Amazed and content with our snaps, we left for Frajda once more, where our host – Madga – was waiting to take us to lunch.
Before eating, we were introduced to the local fisherman, who offer excursions onto the river to photograph wild eagles. We were given a book, which contained close-up shots of the fierce creature in action – catching fish, swooping for prey and rearing their young. The tiny port was filled with squawking gulls and busy fisherman, who were reeling in large nets from small boats. It was great to see such an attractive working fishing port, as it reminded me of home. We spoke to the fisherman about the developing town of Stepnica, which was once popular with visitors who arrived from Szczecin by boat.
We enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the Tawerna Pamorana, which sits adjacent to the port and serves up a delicious meal. The building dates from the early twentieth century and is decorated with maritime antiques, such as a large, antique diving suite and part of an old fishing boat. We ate by a log fire, which kept us warm from the chilly sea breeze.
After our meal, we headed for the town of Baniewice, in which saw 20 hectares of vineyard and a newly renovated winery – Winnica Turnau. After meeting one of the owners, we were taken 1.5km to the beautiful expanse of land on which the grapes grow. Row after row of the ripe fruit grows over undulating hills, which overlooks a tranquil lake. We tasted the produce and watched as an army of pickers harvested the fruit; one kilogram of grapes produces a single bottle of wine, so they had a mammoth task ahead of them to harvest the entire contents of the plot.
We traveled back to the main building, which was developed from an old farm house, to learn about the wine-making process and sample the wine. We both found it fascinating to learn about the journey from grape to wine, and enjoyed seeing pictures of the various stages of renovation. Next, we sampled a few of the 12 types of wine produced on the premises. Two whites – Solaris and Riesling – and two reds – Rondo/Regent and Cabernet. We were taught how to appreciate the full flavours and aromas of the drink and feasted on fresh cheese, which was produced at the farm next door. We even left the winery with a bottle of our choice, which I sip now as I write.
There was just enough time to catch a glimpse of the setting sun as we settled into our accommodation next to a lake. Tomorrow is our final full day of activities; we’ll be joined by film crews for the last time, as we savour the best of West Pomerania. It was another great, and varied day, in a beautiful part of Poland.