Doug's parents came to visit in December 2013 primarily to see their new grandson, JB. We took the opportunity for them to watch Greta and for us to make a short 2-day trip to Bolesławiec, Poland for some pottery shopping. Or rather for Erynn and our friend Sabine to go pottery shopping. The town is just across the border from Germany where Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic meet. It is also famous for the local potteries and now caters massively to tour groups looking for nice, cheap wares. Erynn had been to Bolesławiec before with some friends and yearned for a few more pieces.
It was a short trip, but there was enough time to visit a ton of potters, damage our bank balance, and Doug even got to break away and explore the city center for a bit before heading home. We ended up driving from our home in Mannheim, which was just about 5 and a half hours. It was a bit chilly being December, but that meant we had the shops to ourselves!
For full resolution photos from the trip to Bolesławiec click here.
Erynn found a great place to stay - the Blue Beetroot B&B. One of the owners is British and the accommodations and food were outstanding. It's located a couple kilometers outside of town and is very reasonably priced. Best of all (for Doug) was that they served amazing pierogies.
The name of the game was "get in, get out, no mucking about." Erynn had built an itinerary to hit the good potters. Each establishment had their own traditional patterns (like this one with mostly blue base and white circles) then some more modern and seasonal patterns. Many of the shops has large factories you could visit as well as storefronts in other places.
As you come into town from the Autobahn one of the first ceramic places you come across is the Ceramika Artystyczna that you see with Erynn and Sabine with the blue pot. Then directly across the street is a strip mall looking place with a bunch of small store fronts for local potters. The factory stores and these store fronts carry almost exactly the same stuff so it's very convenient.
JB was along for the ride, and he was an angel. He was just about six weeks old on the trip and so far Poland is the only country he's been to that his older sister hasn't. I'm sure we'll get Greta to Poland at some point though.
We didn't take a ton of photos inside many of the shops. It was the weekend and most of the actual factories were closed. But most storefronts were just stacked with ceramics of all kinds. This small shop, Ceramika Ada, was a little out-of-the-way place with a guy working. It was by far the smallest place we visited, but you could get a sense of how the pieces were made.
Here are some more photos of the process at Ceramika Ada. The detail of the patterns was pretty amazing and created using a combination of brushes, foam patterns, and sponge stamps. Apparently, potters formed in the area due to the suitable clay deposits.
Studio Borowski broke the mold so to speak. Shunning pottery this outfit hand blew glass. The art glass they made was interesting and it's a mesmerizing experience watching the people work.
The girls dropped Doug off for a couple hours so he could walk around the city center. The picture on the left is the market square and town hall. The picture on the right is the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas. It also faces the market square and is a mouthful to say.
The left photo is the district court. The right photo is the main train station.
The day was a bit brisk, but the town was really beautiful. You could tell that a lot of EU money went into its restoration. Surrounding the entire old town are remnants of the city walls, lots of monuments and walking paths. It was like a green necklace surrounding the city and was quite lovely. I get the sense that most of the tourists are so busy shopping for ceramics they skip the town center. Don't.
© 2014 Doug Rathburn