I have heard about polish pottery forever! I have just never been to Poland. Oh, I’ve seen its colors in every military installation we’ve been stationed at, so of course, I was curious. A quick trip to Poland was exactly what I was looking for to begin the investigation for this special pottery. Also, when you have a few days in August with no trip plans and a few eager girls willing to help you explore with you, well, off we went. Here is our Poland story and itinerary for our well-rounded quick trip to Poland.
Of course, my original love of pottery came from our first duty-station a long time ago, when we lived in the little town of Büdingen. The rage then was Wächtersbach – Waechtersbach (V) pottery and well I fell in love with it. I guess it is like my first love “of pottery.” It’s simple and colorful and now can be found A LOT on eBay because otherwise, it’s pretty hard to find original pieces. My love of pottery and ceramics grew from here and poor Jon has to suffer through it. I’m in love with Soufflenheim, France too – spend a little bit there as well. I actually have DAY TRIPs that go here during the year!
When my friend Kelly mentioned she wanted to see the Rakotzbrücke (devil’s bridge) in Kromlau, Germany about an hour north of Boleslawiec, Poland, we decided to add a shopping trip to our itinerary.
First stop, Dresden
On our way to Kromlau (Weiswasser), I asked if we could investigate the regal town of Dresden. By the way, this majorly ancient city is famous for more than just royalty. The New York Post considers it ONE of the BEST Christmas Markets in all of Europe with original artwork, woodwork, and crafts from the region. This European market should be on your MUST-SEE Christmas list. I had no idea Dresden is almost completely decorated with Saxony Baroque design around every corner. Here are a few pictures I snapped.
Not an official TWW (©Travel with Wendy) trip I was psyched that my friend Candy decided to book the hotel where we would be staying. Since the highlight of the trip was suppose to be the bridge, she booked us in the town of Weißwasser just outside of Kromlau about 8 km. Super close by and an excellent price we couldn’t pass it up! The Hotel Kristall was perfect for our little group. We had one room (that slept 4) business package and another double. Divided between all of us, it was about €65 for TWO NIGHTS! YUP!! YAY ~
It also had a great breakfast – big windows in the bedroom for these HOT summer nights (we still brought our FANS though) and the rooms were big enough that we didn’t feel super cramped. The town of Weißwasser had a small town feel with a little bit of tourism.
Our first night we REALLY enjoyed our Chinese dinner at China Restaurant Zinwa across the street from the hotel. Lots of seating and really tasty food. They had a choice of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai (we all had a little bit of everything.
Most people when staying in Poland stay in the Blue Beetroot Inn. This is usually the second question after people ask you about Poland. I’ve only heard wonderful things about this place, the owners and their services, even after 20 years so they must be something special.
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We were all so excited to see this Devil’s Bridge in Saxony as it is one of over 100 in the EU. These bridges are quite medieval and some were a part of the roman empire. Others a little bit later. Their engineering and architectural design lend them to being somewhat unworldly and hard to explain their existence which led people to think that maybe they were. The Rakotzbrücke is actually under construction right now and will be a protected UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ultimately, the water was down because Europe was suffering from summer drought but I was still able to snap a few reflective pics.
The town of Bad Muskau is right on the border of Poland and was occupied by Prince Pückler. Considered to be the “green prince” of Germany, he wrote books about botany and horticulture that are still used today. This massive botanical garden, castle, coffee shop, tourist office, horse stables, etc. was unexpectedly amazing.
Again, the Saxony Baroque design of the castle and grounds led you to believe there was extreme wealth at some time during its history. We were on our way to Poland at this point, so we could only stop for coffee and ice cream. Ugh… just not enough time!
Time for pottery ~
I have several friends who make this trip often and are quite the pros and if you Googled, Pinterested or Instagrammed just polish pottery it would be overwhelming with lots of information. We visited just four shops in town but there are A LOT more ~ if this is your main mission, I believe the Blue Beetroot has a detailed map with the stores in town.
Henry’s Ceramika Pottery
This was my favorite store! The colors and designs were awesome and the pottery was displayed so nicely that you could find everything you needed. My group bought the most by far at this store – Henry’s Ceramika
Sklep z Ceramika
Very nice customer service here AND the only place we saw RED polish pottery. Super cool. They also had some interesting designs I hadn’t seen at the other stores. I love creativity. The mixed colors too like the blues and reds and greens as well as bigger dots. Super innovative designs and LOTS to choose from. Discount designs were in the back.
This store was a little bit smaller, BUT close to Henry’s so we popped in here. I was thrilled because I was able to find a masculine mug for my son that had a parquet design that I didn’t see anywhere else for about €8. The customer service lady was super helpful and offered to wrap everything nicely for us and answered some of our questions politely.
One of the most popular places to visit and also a vendor sometimes in our community. I’m not sure what was going on the day we visited. BUT there was lots of construction. The display room was quite small and inventory was little. Not what I was expecting. Also, the cashier and workers were not helpful at all, actually quite rude. They stayed behind glass windows watching us until we came to the counter. Also, a bummer for me, I was hoping to really love it. They did have unique designs for Halloween like jack-o-lanterns and skulls, but they were also really pricey. But ~ eh! What evs!
- Have an idea of what you are looking for prior to going to set your budget (place settings, table decor, gift items)
- Get Euros out before going to Poland, some of the credit/debit cards weren’t working properly AND REMEMBER if you are using your cards to ask for the exchange in POLISH złoty, not EUROS or DOLLARS, it will be a higher charge to your card
- They will package your items and put in boxes for you BUT make sure you aren’t driving a Prius, I was super glad I had BIG MOMMA (my van.)
- Most people spend one to two nights and it is about a 6.5 to 7 hour drive, one way
- If you stay in Weißwasser and make your way to Boleslawiec like we did don’t TAKE ROUTE 18 in POLAND, THE HIGHWAY – it is not paved very well and most times we had to drive 47mph, it added an extra hour. For some reason, the other side of the highway was perfect. This route is BETTER and only adds 6 minutes.
- LOTS more shops ~ but you can use Google Maps also for the town and just hit CERAMIKA they all pop up! The only caution is their hours, do this research before going.
- Go with friends! I loved it and although I am sure we were absolutely safe, this part of Poland seemed very poor. We found a market that was a little sketchy and the vendors really desperate making it a bit unnerving.
So there it is… I am no longer a newbie to a polish pottery trip I can chat about it with ease. I hope the blog has helped you plan a trip and I do hope you linger along the way to this incredible part of Germany. Really amazing and LOOK FOR my upcoming ADVENTURE to Dresden this Christmas season!
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