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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

For those about to shop . . . 

I occasionally get hits on my blog from somebody who is obviously seeking information. A Google search for "Spangdahlem bazaar", for example, or a Yahoo search for the recipe for "Klondike jello" (whatever that is). They got linked to my blog because I mentioned buying knives at the Spangdahlem bazaar or I posted a recipe and my son went to the Boy Scouts' Klondike Campout and I mentioned the term "jello." Not overly useful stuff. Today, however, I want to do something different. If you came here hoping to learn a little bit about shopping for Polish pottery in Poland, this post's for you.

Jenny and I set out with the kids last Wednesday and drove the 420 miles between Mannheim and Boleslawiec. It was slow going at first because of the heavy rain, but a couple hours down the road the weather cleared up. We were stopped at the border and had to get out of the car to get our passports stamped. The border guard made me bring out my car registration and took delight in pointing out to me a typo: it seems that they left the a off the end of Toyota. "No a, blahski blahski blahski!"

When I went last summer with my mom, we stayed at the Motel Elite, which is the first hotel you come to as you enter the town. It was quite adequate, but they don't have rooms bigger than doubles, and Jenny and I really wanted us all to be able to stay together. So instead we opted to stay at the Hotel Protea, and we were glad we did.

Our room was really nice, especially considering that it cost us only $80 total (80 zloties per adult and 40 zloties per kid). The Protea has locked parking, as does the Elite, but we really preferred its more secluded location.

The Protea is a nonsmoking facility, so Jenny had to go outside to do the smokey-pokey. On her way back in, she ran into a group of Air Force wives who invited us to joing them in the sitting room for wine.

Pottery shoppers are like their own little sorority. We shared their wine and swapped tips and hints. One of the women and I even discovered that we had a friend in common back in the States!

That night for supper, we went down to the hotel restaurant. Again, what a winner! I had stuffed cabbage rolls and a glass of wine; Jenny had the cheese-filled pierogies and a glass of wine; the kids each had a soda and a bowl of the chicken noodle soup ("clear chicken soup with pasta") and shared a fried chicken fillet; and we all shared a baked apple in vanilla sauce for dessert. The tab? 20 euro. Here's Jenny enjoying her supper:



We were done with breakfast (included in the cost of the room) by 8:00 the next morning and ready to hit the shops. I had shopping lists from 7 of my friends and family members, so we decided to loosen up by spending other people's money.

Our first shop was the CER-FAR shop just around the corner (in fact, we did all of our spending within a mile of the hotel). This shop is known to me and my friends as The Painted Fence because of its elaborately painted fence (never let it be said that we're not an original bunch). This place is just amazing. I took this picture and this one, which show you some of their offerings. Lots of the shops offer discounts based on the amount of purchase, and I spent enough in those first 2 hours to qualify for their maximum 10% discount--and all I bought for myself was a ladle!

The Painted Fence also has this really cool tree decorated with pottery:



After we finished there, we moved next door to the Ceramika Artystyczna factory shop. This is the place to go for butter bells, those hard to find little crocks that keep butter magically fresh and at room temperature right there on your countertop. I bought 3 of them!

From there, we headed across the street to a little shop that I adore. Its name is Z.A.K.-ART, and they have some great bargains in coffee mugs. The lady who works there is super friendly, offering tea or coffee the minute you walk in the door. Best of all, they have a clean bathroom that customers are welcome to use.

Just around the corner from that shop is another shop that Jenny and I dubbed the Black Cat Store, because it was the only place we saw that carried this one Unikat pattern that was decorated with black cats. We did a fair bit of shopping there, as well as at the other stores in that one strip.

We went down the street to the Zaklady factory shop to take a picture of the rodents (and Snickers the anteater) enjoying the pottery:



From there, we headed back to the Painted Fence and back across the street to the strip of stores we had just come from. That's one thing I really like about driving myself over instead of going on a bus trip--the freedom to revisit places where you should have gotten that one special piece.

Six hours after we started, we were all suffering from severe pottery fatigue. We headed back to the hotel where we enjoyed the same dishes we had had the night before. Again, a 20 euro tab!

We left town around 4 p.m. and made it home before midnight. The next day we hauled 8 boxes and numerous bags from the van and started going through our finds:




Comments:
Okay I love everything on the floor and I think that is a gravy boat on the table that I am adoring.
 
If I were more jealous, I would spontaneously burst into flame.

deana
 
Thank you for sharing info from your adventure in Boleslawiec. I travelled from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, last fall to go Polish Pottery shopping in Boleslawiec and I'm ready to go back tomorrow (if only I had the time and money :-). Like you, I created a chronicle of my journey at www.polishpotterycollector.com.

Lori
 
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