Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Polish Pottery Shopping

This past weekend we got a few new stamps in our passports (figuratively anyway since no one checked them.) Darn it! I wanted that stamp! (We went to several places but I'm going to write about each place in an individual blog post so I can share more pictures.)

I totally bought that teacup!


We drove to Boleslawiec, Poland and did some polish pottery shopping and visited a Kliczkow Castle. I'll save the castle for another post though. There were so many different pottery shops there it was mind boggling. They each have their own patterns, and specialties. Some people collect the same pattern but I tend to be more eclectic and just choose things that I think are pretty but don't necessarily "go together." It was really hard to decide what to buy.

Some places accept Euro, some American dollars, or course zloty (the local currency) and some will accept credit cards. I would recommend taking a fair amount of cash before your trip as we did find an ATM outside the Carre Four grocery store, but it only dispensed zloty. We spent most of the Polish cash in the store but I brought home the change. The prices vary from store to store but they are all cheaper than what you would pay in the states or even at the PX. There are different categories of quality, with 1 being the best. Usually 2 will have a flaw in the pattern or the pottery itself but is still considered safe for baking. Anything below a 2 you do not want to bake with. Most shops are closed on Sundays but we did find one that was open on our way out of town. Score! 

Walking through these stores with a four year old was a bit precarious but it can be done. We managed not to bump into anything or break anything the entire time. Since she was so good about the "no touching" rule I let her pick out a ceramic cat and one of the store owners gave her the cutest little tea set as a gift!

We stayed at a very small hotel called the Villa Ambasada. The price was 204 zloty per night which comes out to about $67. They give a weekend discount which we found out was due to them having a discotheque in the basement Friday and Saturday evenings. If you arrive earlier on in the day (before 8pm) it shouldn't be a problem but since the drive took longer than expected we arrived very late and had some trouble bringing our bags in through the party. The bar/dance area is also a restaurant during the day and evening and the food was good and very reasonably priced. There is an enclosed parking area that they lock at night so it was very secure. The staff was very friendly and most spoke English. I would recommend it but only if you get there early enough to check in before the dancing starts! 

So here is what we brought home and a few of my favorite finds.

It's hard to tell from the picture but this is a pretty good sized baker. It was only $20!!

My tip would be to make sure to put plenty of money on your Esso card, and fill up right before you get to Poland. It saves you a lot of money in gas. If you're going through Dresden the last Esso station on the A4 is in Bautzen and it is open 24 hours. We made it to to Boleslawiec, did plenty of driving around  and back to Germany on that tank of gas. Also, find a hotel that includes breakfast so you don't have to spend much money on food. You can Google the shop addresses before you go, but if you forget don't worry. You will run into plenty of shops just driving around. If you want to find the out of the way shops though print out the addresses ahead of time. Mostly remember to have a good time. I have so many beautiful souvenirs of our trip and lovely presents to give at Christmas this year and even a few funny stories to tell my daughter when she is older. 

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