Thursday, March 20, 2014

Polish pottery shopping: A Must!

We've been here for almost three years now, and until this past weekend, I had yet to make it over to Poland to shop for pottery.  With the end of our tour here in Germany coming up much sooner than I'd like, it was time to make this a priority, and I am SO glad that I did.

My friend Liz is about 37 weeks pregnant, and she was itching to discover this world that we always here talked about among other military spouses.  She didn't let her late term pregnancy or the fact that her 2 year old spent the night with a stomach bug stop her.  Now that's MY kind of girl.  We had an absolutely incredible time.

There are several places in Poland where you can buy the world famous pottery, but probably the most well-known is Boleslawiec, Poland, in the Silesian Region.  This town is Polish Pottery heaven - known for its ceramic pottery factories, outlets, stores and the home of the Professional School of Ceramics.  Bolesawiec is located about an hour or so from Dresden (or only about 3.5 hours from where we live) making it a fairly easy day trip for those living in this part of Bavaria, and certainly a quick weekend getaway.  Why make the trip to buy Polish pottery?  Because not only is it beautiful, versatile, and amazing, it's insanely expensive back in the U.S.  I've heard you can buy this wonderful pottery for 1/3 to 1/2 of the price of what you would pay back home for the same pieces.

Liz and I hit the road and headed to Poland sans kids as the guys very graciously offered to take care of the boys.  Shopping for pottery would be near impossible with toddlers and babies in tow (although it has been done by many before, it's not exactly my favorite way to shop).  We were able to reserve two single rooms at the Blue Beetroot. Such an amazing recommendation from friends because it's a gem in the rough.  An old barn that sits just outside of Boleslawiec, it has been renovated with love and attention to detail.  Our favorite part of the place was by far the food!

Our charming hotel - The Blue Beetroot

Our drive was relatively uneventful until we got to Boleslawiec and got lost looking for our hotel.  It's really  not terribly difficult to find unless you are searching for it in the dark with pouring down rain.  Despite the adventure, we somehow managed to find the hotel just before the restaurant closed, and dinner was heavenly!!!  I love Polish food, and the restaurant at the Blue Beetroot does not disappoint.

We both bought a souvenir keychain from the Blue Beetroot

After a restful night and an enjoyable breakfast, we prepared ourselves for a day of shopping.  I honestly had no real idea what to expect except for stores full of colorful pottery.  We had a loose plan for where we were going to stop and shop, and by the end of the day we had visited well over a dozen stores.  Liz and I laughed at how with the first 3 or 4 places, we took our time, walked and glanced at the shelves slowly and carefully, and really contemplated what was in front of us.  By the time we walked into the last set of stores, we were like a whirlwind.  We knew exactly what we were looking for.  We knew what we liked and what we didn't, and we had no more patience for staring at pottery we didn't care to buy.  It was an awesome transformation.

The trip was successful, but we are already making plans to go back now that we know more about what is there.  A good friend of mine so wisely pointed out that you can't really go to Boleslawiec with a list.  Sounds crazy, but it's much more difficult to find that exact piece you are envisioning and the experience is much more about discovering that hidden treasure or finding that gem.  I had the most fun buying gifts.  When we were nearing the end of our day, Liz and I both looked at our bags and came to the realization that our husbands were going to come unglued if we didn't start buying some things for ourselves to bring home.  We managed to discover some treasures, but we are also anxious to go back for more!

There are so many pottery stores and factories in Boleslawiec.  Everyone has different tastes, and Liz and I quickly decided on our favorites.  Our recommendation would be to visit Andy's, Zaklady, and Henry's.  Those were by far at the top of my list.  Andy's had the most incredible designs (and you get an additional 15% off if you stay at the Blue Beetroot), Zaklady had an amazing collection, and Henry's had our favorite cookware selection.

Henry's - one of our favorite stores for pottery in Boleslawiec

Here's a peek at the pottery I brought home for myself.  Each piece was purchased at a different store - a bread pan, a spoon ladel, and a casserole dish (by far my favorite).   I'm keeping the other gifts secret because those are yet to be delivered :)

A small collection of Polish pottery that I hope to expand soon!

Isn't this casserole dish gorgeous?!  I just love it.

It was easy to see why visiting Boleslawiec is a popular lady's weekend away for military spouses.  We had a wonderful time and we came back with amazing gifts and personal treasures we will hopefully be able to pass down several generations.  I really can't wait to go back, and I'm kicking myself for taking so long to make this trip to Poland.  If you get the chance to go, I can't recommend it enough!


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