The journey to Arendel passes unexpectedly quickly. A wooden gate is open and a majestic barn emerges behind the trees. It is the center of the village. Only after a moment do I notice Norwegian cottages and the names of streets. Next to one of the houses, I can see its owners – Agata and Olek. The Norwegian style begins to attract me…
– How long had you lived in Norway before you created Arendel? – I’m asking as I believe that the fascination with Scandinavia results from emigration.
– We have been to Norway twice, but those were tourist trips. We have never lived there as expats, although initially, we had such plans – admits Agata.
– So what happened? – I’m asking out of curiosity.
– Norway enchanted us with its openness, simplicity and lifestyle that derives from nature. We decided to live like Norwegians, yet not in a big city, but in our own house in the forest. We knew that it would be impossible in short time. At first, we would have to live and work for many years in the city to collect the sufficient amount of money because the prices of real estate in Norway are very high. The dreams about the Norwegian countryside and life in the midst of the Scandinavian nature were almost impossible for us.
Agata and Olek have admitted that they don’t remember when they came up with the idea to create a Norwegian village in Poland. Both of them were studying in Poznań (Agata linguistics, while Olek management), but the thought about Norway kept haunting them.
– It was a deliberate decision – says Olek – We approached this project very seriously because it was meant to be our place of living as well. We were looking for the right place for a very long time and finally, we chose Włodzimirów near Zagórów. A good connection with Słupca, Kalisz, Września, or Poznań is a great advantage. In fact, we are located almost in the center of Poland, so we have a good connection with every place in the country.
The only two things that we couldn’t bring from Norway to Arendel are the Scandinavian climate and landscape. The natural environment in the Polish Arendel is not exactly like in Norway, but the owners do their best to bring the proper atmosphere to this place.
– A wooden barn, cottages and other facilities are no different from the original Norwegian buildings. We have the Norwegian names of streets, reindeers, Fjord and Shetland ponies… and, unfortunately, definitely less severe winters, so Santa Claus visits us only once a year – laughs Agata
What is the greatest attraction in Arendel? The owners reply immediately: silence, peace and nature that is everywhere in fact, at one’s fingertips.
– It is the place without a rush. Life goes without turmoil and cell phone ringing. The TV is located only in the recreation room in the barn. It is the only place here where social life carries on. In the evenings, guests gather there at the tables, drink coffee and talk. Everybody can talk to anyone, regardless of education or age. Just like in Norway.
– As a snack, we serve the original Norwegian brunost – adds Agata and puts the snack from the country of Vikings on the table.
Burnost is brown cheese made from whey. It’s sweet, with a caramel note and it is quiet similar to the Polish fudge. Norwegians eat it with strawberry jam on sandwiches. Arendel is probably the only place in Poland where you can taste the variety of the original brunost cheese.
Arendel functions as agrotourism and offers cottages for rent. This place is suitable for organising company events, meetings for children and youth, or spending a day with the family. The area of the village amounts to 5 hectares and it borders with the forest. There is the Warta River valley nearby, the convent in Ląd, the palace in Ciążeń, the castle in Pyzdry… At the end, I have asked whether guests use the opportunity to explore the neighbourhood.
– Yes, but only some of them…
– They don’t come here to explore, do they? – I read the owners’ thoughts.
– Indeed. They come here to run away from the rush and civilization. In search for peace, just to do nothing – the host admits.