April 20, 2015

Polish Pottery and Palaces

Kliczkow Castle

This past weekend we found ourselves in Poland—again! It is not often that we go to the same way twice—there is so much amazing world to experience and see, so we do not often go back, opting instead to find other places to enjoy. That was not true of Poland. If any of you were wondering why Poland, of all places, won the repeat prize of having us visit again, rest assured that the big draw, was the pottery.

Lady Hiva is hooked. She had a brief fix on our last visit, but then realized how expensive Polish pottery is to buy in the United States and how cheap it is to fly there from Istanbul. So we went back! This time she was on a mission to find items for her dream kitchen/dining room look. And all of you know that when someone has their mind made up, finding reasons to stop it is just futile.

We decided to land in Berlin, Germany this time instead of Prague, Czech Republic to see something new. Little did we know that we would be in Germany so many times in the last several months (Much, Dresden,and now Berlin.) We were so lucky that Lucky Dragon did not puke or poop everywhere on the flight to Germany. But we were not so lucky, we were driving down the road full off of lunch and little guy decided to test his inherited gag reflexes by putting a plastic fork in his mouth. By the time we hear the gags it is too late, no matter if we remove the item or not, once gagging, it does not stop until it explodes (yes, Lady blames that trait on me EVERY time! Haha) Sure enough, he spouted a spew of watermelon and German Brats all over the car. I was so thankful that I was not holding him this time—I am looking for the silver lining here. I did well not throwing up myself, the smell of half-digested hot dog and watermelon is just beyond description. At least he had not drank milk (again, think silver lining here). Yet, it was me who had to take the entire car seat apart and wash it with shampoo in the hotel shower so it could dry all night. To be honest, I am really proud of the control over my gag reflexes since we have had Lucky Dragon. Lady Hiva still tells me I need to improve…no rest, I tell you, no rest!

It was a really bumpy drive once we crossed into Poland from Germany…I thought we were not going to have teeth left by the time we arrived!

We had some good friends from Virginia who also love Polish Pottery tell us that they stayed in a castle near Boleslawiec. Lady Hiva did her research and we found the castle. It was about a ten minute drive from the town center but, it was so worth it. It is set in the forest with grass, fields and a small village with brightly painted cottages around it. It has been hit badly during the war because German troops had used it for a place to stay, but they have done a great job reviving it. We stayed in one of the large and very beautiful rooms of the second floor. It was amazing to open our window and smell spring and hear the hundreds of birds chirping at each other.

Random old man that told us all kinds of WWII history of the area

We found plenty of playgrounds


The shopping in Boleslawiec did not let us down. We went to every shop we could find and then two a few of them twice! Lady and I searched through stack after stack of dishes and bowls until we found what she wanted. It was like a treasure hunt to look through everything and find a hidden gem in the discount section!

Lucky  boy and it found play grounds along the way and he is becoming so social. He would stand at the doors to the shops and when people entered he would say, “Hello” or  “Oh, Hi!” and wave to them in greeting. I enjoyed watching their faces light up to his warm personality—even if they did not speak English. He loves to be around people (I wonder where he got that from) but it is on HIS terms. If people try to force their way to say hello or get a hug, he rejects them straight up. However, if he can greet them on his own, he is really outgoing. He will walk right up and sit next to people. Offer them a hug or a ‘pound’ with his knuckles (thanks to Big Hero Six he also requires that we say, “falalala” after it too).

We also explored the small village center and the neatly painted buildings. Of course we saw that there was a few Turkish places around too—Istanbul will always be part of us.
He was sleeping and woke up...don't worry, I put on a shirt after the photo

Poor kid...when you throw up all over your cute clothes...you end up wearing whatever Mum and Dad can find...

Boleslawiec, Poland

Forget the photo, he wanted to lick off all the ice cream there was left...

Lucky Drago would not get close to them until I named them and introduced him and then he would talk with them, meet, Joe, Sally, Birn and Jane

We are not sure what we ate, even the English translations were not specific...

The trick with all of the pottery was getting it all home. And guess what? After several boxes layered between each individual plate, a mountain of bubble wrap, tissue paper, newspapers and other stuffing we saved EVERY SINGLE PIECE! Woohoo! That made us both so happy. 

We took a tour of one of the factories. It was amazing to see the many step process to make the pottery. I also could not help but wonder how bad these workers' hands must be after doing what they are doing for years. 

Mug handles before being separated and attached

Waiting to go into the furnace

Raw clay from the Boleslaweic region

All the artists painting the pottery

Handmade stamp

Adding glazing before second firing

too much shopping...must rest, must rest

This is what made it home with us!

The mountain of stuffing that kept all the pottery safe on the flight!

Unpacking it all!

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