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King of the Biebrza River

King of the Biebrza River

November 2019 · 5 min read · Mońki County

Once, while browsing pages about Podlasie's tourist attractions, I came across the mysterious "King of Biebrza". After a short search, I found a little more information. Man has been living alone on the Biebrza River for over 20 years. A topic extremely interesting for every traveler. At the first opportunity, I get in the car and drive.

Yes, but how do you find him? I didn't find the exact address on the internet - I only came across general information that he lived in the village of Budy near the Biebrza river. I'm going so Tsarist Route - along the river. At some point I see a pub - Dobarz Manor. I stop and go in. Beautifully decorated interior, wooden tables, flowers, tablecloths on them, curtains on the windows - idyllic atmosphere. To my surprise I see "King Biebrza". He is standing near the bar. "I'm lucky" - I think to myself. I watch him. White shirt, jeans, luxuriant gray hair, a little sad expression on my face - I am surprised because he was smiling in the pictures on the internet. It will soon turn out why such a contrast. I start the conversation. "King "Eager to take up conversations. He is a very open man - he says what he thinks in advance. That's how I imagined him. He asks what I have already visited on the Biebrza - he advises what to see in the area. I ask if I can visit his property - in the end it is one of the attractions tourist on the Biebrza recommended by some tourist portals. I gladly accept my offer.

I get into the vehicle and follow the forest paths behind the car of the "King". After some time we turn into one of the alleys - I think to myself: "Good that I did not have to look for the way to his house myself, at this intersection I would not know where to turn". We reach the goal. The car park is a small forest clearing. Next to it there is a large kind of gate with the inscription "Sucha Barć". In the background you can see the landscape of the meadows of the Biebrza. We are going towards the river. A wooden house emerges from behind the trees. Next to it, an outbuilding with specific carvings on one of the walls. A farm nearby with several dogs - including several puppies. "The King" explains - "It's stupid, I took care of them." It turns out that someone abandoned small dogs in the woods. The problem is even greater because they require constant care and regular meals. That is why Mr. Krzysztof (name of "King") was so sad when I met him in Dobarz Court. The matter of the dogs doesn't leave him alone.

"King" invites me to the cottage. Just the entrance and the porch arouses my interest. Lots of different items here. Old wicker baskets, wooden sculptures, horseshoes, bells, farm tools. Everything looks like it's a hundred years old. The first impression after going inside is the incredible narrowness resulting from the huge amount of various artifacts accumulated here. First of all, there are wooden figurines of various sizes - from ordinary people, through religious figures, animals, to terrible demons. The walls are full of decorations - paintings, photos, diplomas, wrought iron crosses, kerosene lamps, old clocks. On shelves and archaic furniture - books, books, parchment scrolls, dishes, turntables, accordion, vases. Virtually every item looks antique. Mr. Krzysztof opens one of the cabinets. It shows documents and photographs related to both Polish and Russian history. It has many memorabilia of the former Osówiec fortress, whose ruins are located a few kilometers up Biebrza. As it turns out, many items Mr. Krzysztof bought from the locals. However, he brought most of the old books from Warsaw.

Years ago, Krzysztof ran an antique shop in the capital. It was in the antiquities trade that he earned enough to buy a farm on the Biebrza. Initially, he planned that this place would be visited only during the holidays. Over time, he decided to move to Bud permanently. Wife could not imagine such a life. They split up. When Mr. Krzysztof moved to Bad Biebrza, he immediately admired the local culture and history. He began collecting local works of folk art - especially sculptures by Dionysius Putra. His collection also includes everyday objects of the former Biebrza village. There are also many memorabilia related to the tsarist history of these areas.

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At the end of the visit, reflection comes over me. I think it's good that I visited 'King of Biebrza'. It's nice that there are still people living without television, internet, ATMs and payment cards, but in harmony with nature and themselves. It gives food for thought - is civilization in its present shape really needed by man so much? The life of 'King Biebrza' is proof that he is not.

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