Sunday, 5 September 2010

A quick trip to Bolesławiec, Poland

Before we leave Berlin, Nicole wanted just one more trip to Poland to add to the Polish Pottery collection she has started. When Nicole last went with Karen and the girls.  Karen pointed out a castle near the town of Bolesławiec, that she highly recommended. Karen and her family had stayed at the Kliczków Castle for a weekend, and had a fabulous time.
A Castle.....Nicole always wanted to spend a night in a castle.....because she believes she truly is a princess.

So, we packed the car (with as few clothes as possible to allow more space in the boot for pottery), and drove to Poland.

We stopped at a small town for lunch (still in Germany), and found a cafe that offered pasta as well as bakery items. Alexander ordered a bowl of spaghetti with herb and tomato sauce. This first bowl came out, and as he was eating it, there was a piece of plastic in the bowl. We spoke to the waitress, who was very apologetic, and bought out a second bowl, again there was plastic in this one. 3rd time lucky, yes, again a bit of plastic. It looked like the sauce had been in a clear plastic tub, which had perhaps shattered before being put into the saucepan? That was our only explanation. After this, Alexander gave up, and ordered a croissant. We were wondering how the bill was going to look, as you can never tell here. We were pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to pay for 3 bowls of spaghetti or the croissant!

We had the sat nav system working, and Phil wondered if there would be signs to tell us that we were crossing from Germany into Poland. I told him (from my experience last time), not to worry, you will know the exact moment you cross the border to don’t even need a sign! Phil and the boys were very confused.

However, they were able to pinpoint the exact moment we crossed over the border, as the roads change dramatically. We have never seen so many pot holes, bumps and badly patched up jobs on a main road anywhere we have been! There were times when your bum lifted off the seat as we drove over bumps. The boys thought this was hilarious...Phil was dumbfounded!

We managed to get to the castle with only one back track, and check into the castle. The room was enormous, and lovely.

Nicole spent a lot of the time in the room exclaiming “I am a princess”

to which the boys would reply “No, you’re not!”

We set about for a wander around the castle grounds, and had fun exploring.

Our weekend package included dinner for 2 nights and breakfast. Meals were delicious, and a reasonable variety.
They also had a spa, so Nicole booked in for a manicure and pedicure, and Phil had a massage. Great prices and really fantastic. We booked our times at the spa to be back to back, so one of us could look after the kids and keep exploring the castle.

The wooded areas around the castle were great for exploring.
We found plenty of mushrooms. 
We saw lots of people stopping in the woods picking mushrooms, and then selling them beside the roads.
Even some dung beetle cleaning up after some horses.
Our trip to Bolesławiec to buy some pottery was a little bit stressful, as our sat nav struggled with the different symbols in Polish writing, so finding some of the streets was a bit challenging. (Nicole had remembered to take the brochures from the factories she had visited with her previously).

Nicole is map challenged, and surprisingly, she managed to remember how to get to one of her favourite factories by memory....not usually the case for Nicole. We went to 4-5 factory outlets, and bought bits and pieces, and every store wrapped everything really well and placed in boxes to bring home easily.

Then it was back to the castle to relax and explore a bit more. There was a wedding reception at the castle on Saturday night , and another bridal couple came to castle to have photos taken. It was a fantastic settting for wedding photos!

The kids loved exploring the grounds. They found this great tree to climb into.

The kids enjoyed running around in the old moat (no water there now)
Nicole enjoyed her time being a princess, but sadly it had to end.
As we were leaving the castle, the boys (who were well and truly sick of hearing “I’m a princess”), said happily, "You are not a princess anymore mum!"

Funnily enough, the road out of Poland is new and amazingly smooth. Karen’s reason for this, is so that the Polish pottery you have just bought does not get smashed up on the way back into Germany!

On the way home we stopped at the Spreewald for lunch, where we experienced the longest wait for fish and chips we have ever had. We are pretty sure they forgot our order, and then we asked again, we are pretty sure they forgot that order as well. When we finally got the order, they also sent out free pancakes with apfelmuss as an apology. It was a nice afternoon, and we were able to watch the canal boats as we waited.

We bought a large bucket of Spreewald gherkins for our neighbour, Thorsten, because we know how much he loves them! (He was thrilled)
So, we got back to Berlin, and here is the pottery that Nicole brought back with her. Nicole, being Nicole, ensured that no patterns were the same. She took photos of the other pieces she already had with her to make sure she didn’t double up.

Now we just have to find some space to put all this pottery.

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