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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE VACATION QUOTE!
Have you ever been Polish pottery shopping?