Dec 11, 2014

Polish Pottery Adventure: Bolesławiec, Poland


Confession: the only time I ever went to Poland during our 3 years living abroad was to shop. No, really. Sounds so snobby to say..."I just hopped over to Poland for the weekend to shop!" Ugh, I hate myself, too. But such is life when you're living in Central Europe. Amazing shopping adventures in incredible countries, all just a short jaunt away! America, you just don't know what you're missing. However...I do know there are SO many more lovelier cities in Poland than Boleslawiec, home of the country's famed Polish Pottery factory stores. But honestly, Polish pottery shopping was on my European "must-do" bucket list, so it only seemed natural to load into a caravan full of chatting ladies (not once, but twice) and make the 6 hour trek from Wiesbaden to the Polish pottery capital of the world. I needed to see what all the fuss was about. Thankfully I can report it was well worth the trip(s)!
 

Truth be told, Polish pottery really isn't my style. I know, I know, then why did I want to go so badly? Because it's such a big thing to do. And I wanted to see if I could find anything among all the bold blues and traditional repeating patterns that would suit me. Interestingly enough, I was able to snag a handful of goodies each time I went...and at insanely awesome prices. Polish pottery sold in the states (and in other countries around the world) has large mark-ups, likely because of shipping and importing. But in Boleslawiec, you can find some serious deals. Outlet prices and wide selections of kitchen wares. It's a tad overwhelming. If you can get past the clutter and seemingly never-ending choices, then this town and the stores that keep it thriving can be so much fun to shop for unique souvenirs in. Now, there are all kinds of tips and tricks for finding the "good stuff," as well as a numbering system to know which pieces can be baked/microwaved and have small defects (yadda, yadda)...but I won't bore you with all those details (you can Google it and about a hundred other blog posts will give you the low down--thank you, internet!). What I will tell you is that the shops photographed above were my favorites. You can also Google the names of those places and I'm sure find maps and shopping strategy posts for each of them. Like I said, people are totally obsessed with this stuff!

If you're looking for a SUPER CHEAP but safe place to stay on your great Polish pottery shopping adventure, don't hesitate to spend the night at Pensjonat uJaniny. It's quaint, it's in a super random neighborhood, and has limited parking (not a big deal), but it was 30 euro for one night including breakfast. I'm not kidding you...30 euros! And the staff is so nice and welcoming. For a fun Polish meal (complete with homemade vodka and pierogies), give Opalkowa Chata a go. The salad bar is also ridiculously good, if you like pickled veggies (and I really, really do). It's a quirky place, but they serve traditional Polish fare at awesome prices. I think Poland may have been one of the most affordable places we visited in all of Europe. Probably another reason why the gals go ga-ga over it!




Ahh, the remnants of our impromptu Polish vodka tasting. The waitress at Chata just popped around the corner with a tray full of glasses and 5 bottles of the smoothest homemade vodka I'd ever tasted. As if the pottery shopping wasn't already fun enough! :) If you find yourself in Central Europe and have a quick weekend to spare, hop on over and get your Polish pottery shopping on. It's worth the hype! Want help booking and planning your Poland adventure? Email me at casey@destinationstoexplore.com for a FREE VACATION QUOTE!

Have you ever been Polish pottery shopping?

14 comments:

  1. You know I saw similar pottery in Sikkim (India). I want to go back and pick at least a set of tea cups. It's so pretty!

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  2. How fun! I'm not a fan of Polish pottery either. I didn't even buy any when I went to Poland. I did pick up a couple pieces before we left (picture frame & small plate) Europe when a seller came down to Aviano. Nove was more my cup of tea. ;)

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  3. I had never seen the pottery in Poland, but I love it! I don't blame you for popping over to Poland just to shop ;)
    Katie
    http://www.worldwidevegetarian.com

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  4. Loved reading about this! I didn't realize Polish pottery was such a big thing! How awesome! I would LOVE to go to Poland someday!!!

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  5. I know so many people who love polish pottery but I own none.

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  6. I love those bowls, they would be so cute to display/store jewelry!

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  7. That pottery is lovely! I honestly never knew there was such a "thing" as Polish pottery... but now I want some!
    www.readtravelbecome.com

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  8. I want one of those bowls from the top photo! They are gorgeous. Plus the round mugs, so cute!

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  9. Ah, you never cease to add more things on my bucket list. Thank you! :D

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  10. I love Polish pottery! I went to Poland a few years ago and have a small heart-shaped dish that I keep hairpins and small jewelry in. I also got a small painted box (albeit wooden) that stores my US quarter collection. If you have a chance, you should definitely head to Poland to explore! I was in Wrocław and the Rynek is absolutely beautiful. I'm planning to blog about my trip there soon (I wasn't blogging at the time I went) and hope to go back eventually!

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  11. Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures on your Poland Bolesawiec trip! I was shopping for bowls and only picking on Japanese bowls, and i started talking to a woman looking at some Bolesawiec potteries. She told me she collected many of those and they are made in Poland. It really opened my eyes to the world of beautiful Poland Bolesawiec world! I just bought a Bolesawiec hand-painted mug :)

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  12. I just came across your article and I must say Polish pottery is so beautiful! :)

    If you’d like to see more pottery, I recommend you to visit Barcelos in Portugal. The Rooster of Barcelos is one of the most common symbols of Portugal. With that being said, pottery has been a popular handicraft activity in Barcelos.

    For anyone who enjoys this kind of activity I recommend you and everyone to visit the The Pottery Museum in Barcelos. It’s possible to observe contemporaneous artists, a lot of different kinds of Roosters of Barcelos handmade by several artists and excellent examples of pottery from almost every regional styles of Portugal. It's definitely worth to check it out!

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