After leaving the picturesque German city of Cottbus we crossed the Polish border to check out Bolesławiec, Poland – The Polish Pottery Town.
Getting to Bolesławiec, Poland – The Polish Pottery Town
The easiest way to see Polish pottery in Boleslawiec is by taking a day trip tour from Wroclaw, Poland. It makes a perfect 6-hour day trip.
But we were driving TO Wroclaw from Cottbus Germany.
So we loaded up the Mercedes Wagon in Cottbus and pointed the car west-southwest toward the Polish frontier.
After driving on the autobahn from Berlin to Cottbus, I finally had a feel for our Mercedes Wagon.
And the German autobahn famously has no speed limit on many stretches of road.
So I decided to see what a fully loaded Mercedes wagon with 4 passengers and their luggage could do.
Apparently my efforts were noticed from the back seat. Later that day I saw this post on my Facebook wall:
In fairness, on our way back to Berlin to return the rental car it was just Lisa and me in the car. And I got her up to 190 kph (118 mph) before Lisa started yelling at me to slow down!
In any case, we made quick work of the drive out of Cottbus.
Then we hit the Polish border.
The moment German Bundesautobahn 15 turned into Polish Autostrada A18 the road went from a sleek superhighway to…something from the 19th century.
Ok. So it was so bad that I googled it. And it’s not from the 19th century. It’s from the 1930s. According to Wikipedia: “…the east-bound carriageway is in a very bad shape with most of its surface still being the concrete slabs laid in the 1930s.”
Yeeeeah, we were driving on a road that hadn’t been improved since the Nazis built it in the late 1930s. SMH.
We slowed to about 60 kph (about 40 mph).
And yet the car was still bouncing, our teeth were rattling and Lisa started feeling a little seasick. Jake made a crack about Polish road engineers that did not go over well with Marlene…but it was hard to disagree!
This unfortunate stretch of road is about 60 km long…so it was a long, bumpy ride.
Finally Lisa found an alternate route and we covered the last 20 or so km to Bolesławiec on back roads.
Bolesławiec, Poland – The Polish Pottery Town
Lisa’s mom Marlene (being of Polish heritage) adores Polish pottery.
I knew this because the last time Lisa and I had been in Poland we bought some Polish pottery to bring back to her. Before that I didn’t even know Polish pottery was a thing. It is!
And if it’s real, it’s made in Bolesławiec.
We arrived around lunchtime so made our way to the picturesque town square for lunch.
Lunch in Bolesławiec, Poland – The Polish Pottery Town
Seeking some authentic Polish food, we had lunch at Restauracja Pod Złotym Aniołem (Tavern Under the Golden Angel) on the town square.
This historic restaurant once hosted Napoleon Bonaparte.
The story goes like this: During his retreat after his unsuccessful campaign in Russia, Napoleon’s sledges were damaged and needed repair. During the repair Napoleon ate noodles with roasted fruit at this restaurant. The meal was served in a special vase made from Proskau porcelain from Napoleon’s collection. He did not have any money to pay for the services so he decided to pay with this vase. The vase is still in the hands of the restaurant owners.
In my humble opinion, Napoleon should have had the half duck instead. It was amazing AND keto friendly!
And served on a Polish Pottery plate!
Jake tried his first pierogies of the trip. He declared them “terrible” compared to the ones his wife Marlene makes.
That was an opinion that stood strong against all of the pierogies Jake tried during the balance of our time in Poland. 🙂
After lunch we got serious about Polish Pottery.
The heavy duty and functional creamy white and blue stoneware pieces are unique and easily identifiable.
Ceramics and pottery are pretty much the identity of the city of Bolesławiec. The town earned the nickname Miasto Ceramiki (Town of Ceramics). It’s a matter of civic pride to its citizens.
The region of Europe that Bolesławiec is in has been passed around by countries and empires over the centuries.
So while the ceramics called generally called Boleslawiec pottery, they also go by their German name: Bunzlau or Bunzlauer pottery.
And, of course, Boleslawiec ceramic art has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the United States. We call it Polish pottery!
Whatever you want to call it, Marlene LOVES it.
The factories that produce the pottery are on the edge of town. So we visited some factory stores.
Marlene shopped and shopped.
Lisa tagged along.
I took some photos, sat in the sunshine and checked my phone.
Jake napped in the car.
The variation among Polish Pottery pieces is just astounding. We saw plates, jugs, platters, cups, mugs…just about everything you can imagine.
We even saw these…which resulted in a debate about whether they were salt and pepper shakers, turkey basters or…something else.
Bottom Line – Bolesławiec, Poland – The Polish Pottery Town
Bolesławiec was a fabulous stop on our drive from Cottbus, Germany to Wroclaw, Poland.
We had lunch at an historic restaurant. We looked at and shopped for world-famous Polish pottery….and were totally confused by some of it. 😮
After exploring and shopping, though, it was time to head deeper into Poland in the direction of Wroclaw!