Grzybowo is a small seaside town in north west Poland, approximately 6 miles from the major port and Hanseatic town of the area, Kolobrzeg. I had never heard of Gryzbowo before so before going on holiday I asked my husband to ask a few Polish colleagues to see what he could find out. He was pleased to hear that this particular part of the Baltic coastline is loved by many Poles and Grzybowo is especially known for its air quality. The town is more like a village that has been built to accommodate visitors who come here in the summer months for the bracing fresh air and pure white beaches. Grzybowo translated ito English reads - Mushroom so you never forget the name even if you can't pronounce it.
I liked the feeling of the village straight away - there was a friendly, calm and relaxing atmosphere. There was something special about the sea air too. I don't think I have ever been to any seaside place where I have wanted to get up early to stroll on the beach and just be outside all the time. By 10pm I was ready for bed and slept like a baby every night.
The town is in a way split into two halves. The area near to the beach is filled with holiday accommodation but this is fine - very stylish houses - no high rise hotels or tall apartment blocks. There are lots of small country lanes leading into the main street where the shops and cafes are situated. I liked finding all the different tracks and wandering off. The area very close to the beach is still rough ground leading into a pine forest and sand dunes towards the beach.
The main street has a good atmosphere and can be quite busy around meal times. There is a good selection of cafes and restaurants and a few pretty ice cream parlours which serve delicious and very colourful ice creams. If you are self-catering as we were you don't have to walk far to a shop. Shops and delicatessens vary in sizes from very tiny to medium sized supermarkets. Most foodstuffs including meat, vegetables, bread and cakes etc can be bought in the town and there is a chemist on the main stretch too. Prices are a little higher than in Kolobrzeg so if you fancied a trip into the large town to do a big shop then you could do that by bus as they are frequent and leave from stops on the main street.
From what I could see the main dishes being served in restaurants were pizzas, pasta, fish and pierogi. I thought the fish seemed expensive - 6zloty (£1.20) per 100gm. I noticed an old-fashioned tin house where eels, salmon and other types of fish were being smoked. This fascinated me because I had never witnessed the fish smoking process before and it was fun to see a small crowd every morning and evening gathered round the smoke house to watch the man turning the various types of fish. The smell was evocative too.
Added to the shops, cafes and restaurants were numerous small outlets selling seaside souvenirs. I didn't buy anything but wish I had bought one of those glass frames that you turn upside down and the coloured sand forms pictures as it drops down to the base of the frame. I also liked some of the kitsch lighthouses and pot seagulls but knew I would be in trouble if I had taken any home.
The other side of town is where the 'real people ' live as I call them. By this I mean people who live in Grzybowo all year round. Here there is a small school which reminded me of my old primary school - an old fashioned brick, churchy looking building with a playground. There is a large campsite, a couple of other shops which were cheaper than the ones close to the beach and had a good selection of wines, a very modern looking building which at first I thought was a church but turned out to be a religious hotel centre. I was fascinated by the garden belonging to this building and the metal bell which stood in the garden. I did notice some very attractive houses with large gardens as I walked around with our family dog. Next time I will leave the dog at the chalet and then I will be able to enjoy the peacefulness of the other side of town. With a dog there is no peace because every house had a dog behind a gate and wanted to bark at our dog. Of course being very well behaved he ignored all the other muts!
So that's all I can tell you about Grzybowo. It isn't glamorous in any way but there is something special about it whether it is the sea air, cloud formations, white beaches, friendly people or just those glasses of dark Irish ale on offer. It was my first visit and I know it definitely won't be my last. I loved my time there.