“You can tell the sun in its jealous sky that we walked through fields of gold” – Sting.
“Off the wheaten craic” – Jonny Blair.
Welcome to the real “off the wheaten craic” journey. A place with nature, no train station, no airport. This is Kokoszkowy! My Polish adventures continued the last few years despite my plunge into deep depression caused by liars and GuruGods. I needed the calm of a Polish spring and winter to rest my mind away from the horrors of life. It was in 2017, that I backpacked through the tranquil village of Kokoszkowy, having passed through the village a few times by bus on my routes in and out of neighbouring Starogard Gdański. It was the yellow canola/rapeseed oil fields that had me perky again, reminding me of my time backpacking Luoping in China.
Good morning Kokoszkowy!
So here I was in Kokoszkowy, just another obcsure and unknown place from my journey. The back catalogue on here 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 the mundane popular towns and cities. On some of the trips to obscure towns, they were because of my travel friends such as Daniel. Julio, Haya and Natalia – honest friends who were keen to show me around their cities and towns. I loved it. Within Poland I also visited Biskupiec, Zlotoklos, Włocławek and Holy Pelplin, influenced and inspired by honest friends. Next up on the radar was charming little Kokoszkowy, also inspired by a travel friend as I always visit the villages of people I meet on the road – it’s a great way to get off the wheaten craic while catching up with a mate!
At Kokoszkowy however, my local friend invited me to show me the sights, invite me round for a cup of tea, and to give travel tips.
I was alone and depressed at the time but I chose a great day to backpack Kokoszkowy’s sights – the spring time sun was shinagating over the Kociewie region. I wasn’t the only blogger or travel writer to backpack Kokoszkowy however – Hayley Grace also covers it here as well as some other towns. I knew this tranquil village deserved its own article on Don’t Stop Living, so here goes…
All About Kokoszkowy
Kokoszkowy isn’t a big place. It is a small village in the administrative district of Gmina Starogard Gdański, within Starogard County in the Kociewie Region of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, in Poland. That’s a mouthful but it’s true. Only 1,430 live here and they are mostly Roman Catholic. The village has one church which you’ll read about below. Kokoszkowy is 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) north of Starogard Gdański but it feels less as I walked it and it was very close. It is also only 42 km (26 miles) south of the regional capital Gdańsk, a city I once lived in.
What does Kokoszkowy mean? What does Kokosowy mean?
Oddly kokosowy (as opposed to Kokoszkowy) means “coconut”! But not with the extra Z! So this was not really “Coconut Town”, which I loved the sound of. Sometimes the Polish add a “z” towards the end of words to make them like a cuter, smaller version, e.g. zaba (frog) becomes zabka (baby frog). My visit to coconut town wasn’t white though – the colours here were zielony (green – there was a Green Street, my green Northern Ireland football shirt, green fields), żółty (yellow – rapeseed fields) and niebieski (blue sky). Finally, a real name for Kokoszkowy in English could be “Hen’s town”…
Getting to Kokoszkowy
Kokoszkowy in its rural splendour is airportless, seaportless and train station-less. So the easiest way to get here is by bus from Gdańsk. The buses from Gdańsk are once an hour (normally) during daylight hours, with different Sunday schedules (and holidays). I stayed in nearby Starogard Gdański at Hotel Ren (for the famous Kazimierz Deyna 70 year birthday party) and came to Kokoszkowy from Starogard Gdański. It was a cool and easy dander on a pleasant Sunday. Twenty minutes was all it took. I walked over a bridge over the railway line.
If you do want to come to Kokoszkowy by bus, take the number 400 which stops here. There are also some local buses which stop at Kokoszkowy’s only bus stop – in the main “triangle” (it ain’t quite a square). Fares are cheap. I used Starogard Gdański buses a lot of times and they were normally only 2,20 zlotych each (45 pence). But I loved the walk, both in winter and in spring.
Accommodation in Kokoszkowy
As far as I could tell, there are zero hotels or guesthouses in Kokoszkowy itself. I tried Google searches which also revealed no hotels or b and bs. So I recommend sleeping in nearby Starogard Gdanski at either the cosy and luxury Hotel Ren (3.3 kilometres away) , the backpacker hostel Hostel Famil (4 kilometres away) or the mid-range Noclegi Rekord (3.7 kilometres away). All three venues were excellent, here are some photos of those places:
For football buffs, Noclegi Rekord is the budget option and includes an amazing museum tribute to Polish Olympic Gold medal winner and bronze World Cup player Kazimierz Deyna. Deyna was a Legia Warszawa, Manchester City player who starred in the 1974 and 1978 World Cups. Poland were statistically the best team in the 1974 World Cup but had to settle for third place, as they lost to a dodgy late West Germany goal in the semi.
My Arrival in Kokoszkowy
It’s obvious when you have left Starogard and arrived in Kokoszkowy – there are signs to denote it!
So here then are my top ten sights in charming Kokoszkowy, regrettably without a cafe, bar or football stadium but hey maybe that’s what makes it a cool village…I found my football stadium at nearby Starogard Gdanski anyway…hey Deyna!
1.The Entrance Sign to Kokoszkowy
On the road in, Ulica Gdanska you leave Starogard Gdanski and arrive in Kokoszkowy. The welcome sign and the fields beyond it are my introduction to Kokoszkowy.
2.Yellow Rapeseed / Canola Oil Fields
For sure the main sight and attraction for me were the beautiful yellow fields – so if you do visit Kokoszkowy – go in May. This is the season for growing the rapeseed oil and canola oil plants.
I loved these fields and later made it a profile picture on my Northern Irishman in Poland Facebook Page!
3.The Residential Areas
Next up, having admired the yellow fields, I took a right onto the street called Ulica Południowa to check out where the locals live. It was a quiet and peaceful village with still some houses being built.
4.”Green Street”/”ulica Zielona”
Nothing to do with the Green Street football movie of course, yet Kokoszkowy has an Ulica Zielona, which means Green Street so I headed to check it out! Of course not only is green my favourite colour, but I was wearing my green Northern Ireland shirt and green coat that day. The street even has a green fence and green trees! Crazy street!
I enjoyed this street and the calmness of it – a place I could live which reminded me a bit of my parents place in Ballyhalbert, Northern Ireland. On Green Street, there were some gaps with no houses, I expect that they are waiting for someone to buy the plot of land and build a house on it. The street led me to one of the other streets in the village. I’ve been on a load of Green Streets in Poland now and it’s a force of habit due to my quirky nature and the love of green!
5.Kokoszkowy Village Square
Downtown Kokoszkowy has no real square, more of a triangle! But it is here where the buses to Starogard and Gdansk leave from and it’s the main road through the village.
6. St. Barbara’s Church (Kościół Rzymskokatolici Swieto Barbary w Kokoszkowach)
Almost every village in Poland has a church and wee Kokoszkowy’s is a stunner! It’s a Roman Catholic church dating back to the 14th century, surviving both World Wars. This is St. Barbara’s Church and hosts weekly Masses and many other events. The church has one side made of wood, and the other of brick – it was intriguing. There is also a cemetery in the grounds of this pretty church. The church of the 14th century Joannites was restored between 1995 and 2013 by the local parish priest Mark Błażejczyk, with the support and help of local people of good will.
7.Kokoszkowy Village Shop
I actually found two shops in little Kokoszkowy (plus there are some local businesses such as mechanics) I always like to contribute to local communities so I had to pop into the village shop that was open and buy something!
A local Kokoszkowy lady greeted me and I bought an Energy Drink and a packet of Green Zielona Onion crisps! As far as I could tell there was no off-licence in the village, so no alcohol.
8.Kokoszkowy Village Map and Sign
Even for a small village, there was some great tourist information which I took time to read. There is a lot to do in the Kociewie region.
There were a total of 23 points of interest listed here on the map for Kokoszkowy. I didn’t get to see them all and just did a top 10…
9.Dom Swietego Jana Pawla II / John Paul The Second’s House
Behind the church sits a house connected to the church and named after Pope John Paul II. In 2016, I also toured nearby Pelplin which is a holy place and purified my soul.
10.Pond and Grazing Deer
When I backpacked through Kokoszkowy, I was surprised to see wildlife too! There was a pond near the village square. Here in the field next to it were many beautiful, grazing deer!!
So that was all the main sights I enjoyed while backpacking in Kokoszkowy. As I noted – no bars, cafes, restaurants or hotels. However, I had a bottle of the locally brewed Browar Kociewski beer with me in my backpack so I stopped on a bench in the village of Kokoszkowy. Here I ate my packet of crisps and drank my beer. I said hello to a few passing locals and then I headed off on my journey again…
My tours to smaller towns and villages in Poland led to some publicity:
– 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
– Culture Trip feature on Kociewie
Yet another dot on my globe, thanks Kokoszkowy.
Here are some videos from my time backpacking through charming Kokoszkowy: