Bolesławiec (Bunzlau in German) is a small city in Poland, about a 45 minute drive from Görlitz. The city is famous for its ceramic pottery. We decided to go here on the weekend because the weather has been so beautiful this week and we wanted to take a little day trip. Wouldn’t you know it, when we woke up this morning, the sky was depressingly grey and the weather had cooled off considerably. Undeterred, we traded some of our Euros in for Polish money across the bridge and headed east on the A4.
Our first stop was the city center, which was very walkable. The market square is surrounded by cheerful, pastel-colored buildings with the town hall in the center. At the town hall there is a plaque that is the first stop on a guided historic walking tour that will take you all around the city. Because of the weather we unfortunately didn’t get to complete the walking tour this time, but we noticed when walking through that the small city center has many green belts and parks.
We attempted to visit the Ceramic Museum and although the posted hours said it was open, a man outside explained to us that it wouldn’t be open for another half hour. We decided instead to go get some lunch. I had read online that the restaurant Opałkowa Chata was really good, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a cute little hut with friendly waitstaff who speak German and English well. We were given bread with Schmalz (lard) and we both ordered soups and a local beer on draft to start. I’ve been trying to be brave lately and order local specialties (and also the Polish soup żurek that I usually order had mushrooms in it here) so I picked a soup on the menu called flaczki. The menu said it had marjoram and something called tripe. I didn’t really know what this was, so I took a chance and ordered it. It was very bitter and the meat in it had a weird consistency. My husband started to make me uneasy by saying that he would never eat something like that and that I must be crazy. He psyched me out and I couldn’t finish it. I later googled the term and decided that I had in fact been crazy since the name in Polish basically translates to “guts”. My main dish was a lot better, I ordered Russian pierogi with cheese and potatoes.
After lunch we went to Ceramika Artystyczna to check out some pottery. The pottery comes with different quality ratings, 1 being the highest quality with the highest prices and 4 the lowest, sometimes having flaws, like small chips or cracks in the ceramic. There were a lot of beautiful patterns and I imagine if I hadn’t been with my husband, I could have looked a few more places for one that struck my fancy. At another pottery placed called Manufaktura, which we didn’t get to see today, you can make reservations ahead of time to do workshops where you paint your own pottery. They also have workshops for kids.
This day trip felt a bit incomplete because of the weather and left me with an itch to go back soon and see more. Next time I want to complete the historic walking tour, visit more pottery stores and do a workshop to make my own. I also want to make sure we visit Kliczków Castle next time we are there, which is about 15 minutes north of the city.
One thing that really amazed me while we were in Bolesławiec was the amount of Americans we encountered, specifically American women. When I was researching for this trip I found a lot of resources online written for “military wives”, giving them tips for buying ceramics in this city. The restaurants, staff and signage all seemed to really cater to this market with everything available in English, which is not usually a given for this part of Poland. All of these Americans drive right past my city to go buy pottery in Poland! So if you’re reading this, you should definitely make a stopover in Görlitz on your way to go ceramic shopping to see one of the most beautiful and well-preserved cities in Germany!
Here are some other wonderful places you can visit in our region that are in the area of the Euro-Neisse ticket!