On my tour, I was joined by our South-Baltic-Manor-project-photografer Jan Rusek from Poland as well. While we ate, Nicoles daughter and her parter as well as a kitchen help were with us. The big community room with few tables and a stunning kitchen island, serves mainly for meals. Each morning the guests of Folwark Jackowo can look forward to a super various breakfast, prepared by Nicole and her help. „When she was younger, Nicole always made breakfast for us, even when she was still quite young. I liked to sleep in so that ritual is stuck with her until today“, Anna recalls.
“I immediately felt at home, it was crazy”
Before Anna and I sit down together to talk, she serves me a black tea with milk. We speak German, which is due to the fact, that Anna had lived in Germany for many years. She worked as a translator for a grand farmer, which ironically paved her way to become a farmer herself. Since the early 1990s, she and her business partner Marek run an ecological farm. Anne laughs as she remembers: „As a translator I listened to all this talk about seeds, and harvest and schedules and machines. And so, by chance, I was trained as a farmer.“ Although she never dreamt of living in the countryside again, as she admits. „My parents owned a farm and I hated living there. All I could see was hard work and it totally disgusted me.“ It was when she got pregnant with Nicole, that she decided to go back to Poland eventually. At the age of 25 she and her business partner Marek were given the opportunity to buy 1500 acres of farmland, including an abandoned manor.
It still looks a bit like a ruin, although a newly made roof is adding to its still lingering glory. In the long run, Anna plans to turn it into a boutique hotel. Thinking back to the beginnings of their adventure in Jackowo, she smiles in astonishment, probably about her own bravery-slash-naivety.
„When I first came to visit the place I had just bought, I looked around and everything looked to shabby, truly horrible. It kind of scared me. But then I saw the manor house and it emitted a warmth like I have never felt before in my life. I immediately felt at home, it was crazy“, she recalls and I know exactly what she means. A crush on an old house can be inexplicable, also taking the burden of the high costs for renovating it with an ease that is hard to comprehend for an ordinary person: „I don’t exactly know, why I am doing it. But this strong feeling of having the need of doing it, beats all kinds of rational thoughts that would otherwise hold me back and live an easy live in Italy. I know I somehow have to do it and it has not much to do with a business.“
The same goes for her daughter Nicole, who grew up in Folwark Jackowo. Although she is a trained veterinarian, she had no intensions to work as such. Instead, she made her home her business. „I just wanted to come back and maintain my life with my family here.“ So she developed her idea of the perfect stay for guests, which derives from her own wellbeing at Jackowo: To simply enjoy yourself. „That is why we have no Spa or similar wellness offers. We don’t need to create a good time and I think our guests appreciate it. You can go for a nice ride, or bike around, go to the beach or sit on one of the comfy hanging chairs in the park and read a book.“ Sometimes, though, Nicole admits, it happens that guests cannot connect to the place. „My offer is special, it is not for everyone. It is for outdoor people, who like to interact with others. Those, who will like it mostly here, have no need to be entertained and see the advantage rather than what has not yet been achieved. Whenever someone points out something negative about Jackowo, I just think to myself: There is no place as perfect as this one.“