Gdansk

A Journo's Tale

16 Aug 2017

You may have comes across a book about a journalist who decides to give up his job and to settle down to a peaceful life with his wife and family. Doesn’t sound like much of a story when told like that but that’s what New Zealander John Borrell did. What makes this story a compelling one is that Borrell was a war correspondent for TIME magazine at the time and had 25 years in the journalism game under his belt working for some of the biggest names in the newspaper business.

That was just the half of it – he decided to settle in the beautiful countryside of the Kashubia region in northern Poland just after the collapse of communism. In trying to buy land, build a small luxury hotel overlooking a lake on two sides and raise his family, Borrell came into close contact with the jealousy and corruption that had come to mark the later years of the communist era. Not prepared to simply accept his fate and grease the appropriate palms, Borrell fought the system and even opened his own Polish language newspaper to try to shine a light on the shady practises of local officials. The book, called The White Lake, is an excellent read and one we recommend, but also of note is that (spoiler alert!) small luxury hotel he set out to build.

Named Kania Lodge, this wonderful accommodation is set among the forest, lakes and rolling hills of Kashubia. While the views are beautiful it is the hospitality which is the key to its success although excellent food and a wine collection which has been honoured by Harper’s Travel Report and the US Wine Spectator magazine draw return visits. There’s plenty to do as well with tennis courts, rowing boats, bicycles and spa although the temptation is just to sit down with John Borrell and let him take you through the latest selection of wine he’s imported for his wine business.

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