That's right, pottery shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland.
Our plans were to leave at 3 am. Allen stayed up until 1:15 watching the Arkansas/LSU game, so he was a little slow getting up and moving around. It was about 3:40 when we left. Not only did Allen go to sleep late, but Ashlyn had a hard time getting to sleep and stay asleep. Not good. She was very quiet, but when I went up to her room at 9 (1 1/2 hours after putting her in bed) the lights were on and all of her toys and half of her books were scattered around the room. We had to go back in a couple of more times. We put her in the car at the last minute, still in her pajamas, hoping that she would go back to sleep. She hardly dozed the entire 5 1/2 hour trip!
We were slow getting someone to watch Ranger, so we brought him with us. At the first group of shops we visited, he ate the rest of our pumpkin-chocolate muffins.
Though we were worried about Ashlyn's behavior, especially with the extreme lack of sleep, she was great at the shops (and in the car.) She was just truly too exhausted to do anything. While she didn't go to sleep, she barely moved. At lunch, she ate next to nothing, preferring to lean against Allen, or just lie down on the bench. She asked to sit in her stroller at the next shop, and she just watched us pull out the pottery. She also sang a little bit.
Back to the shopping! It was a lot of fun. I have liked Polish pottery for a long time, but it has always just been too expensive to buy in the states. I knew that when we moved to Germany, this trip would need to be made. From my understanding, the prices even in Boleslawiec have gone way up in the past several years. With Poland going to the Euro in January, we're assuming the pottery prices will go up even more .We decided we needed to make our trip now. We SHOPPED! We purchased many, many pieces. Our main goal was to buy new place settings, but we bought a few extra things as well.
Some of the stores had the more traditional pottery only, looking something like this,
at GREAT prices. A friend of mine had gone the weekend before, and was able to tell me about some of the good sales, so we started there. We bought a few pieces there, and moved on, knowing that we could always come back before the end of the day. We hit one of the more famous shops at just the wrong time. A tour bus had arrived, and there were a group of kids gathered around a demonstration at the front. Too many people in too small of a space with way too high of prices. It's famous, after all.
After a yummy lunch, where we started our meal with bread and a small amount of fat drippings as a spread (seriously, it was just FAT,) we headed to another store that had reasonable prices and a HUGE selection. They not only had the more traditional pieces, but also some of the more unique styles as well.
We did most of our shopping there. Fortunately, we were the only ones in the store, because while Ashlyn sat in her stroller, we spread out all of our plates and bowls, just stacking them up to get a good look. Allen's original thought was that we would try to get a plate, dessert plate, and bowl that all matched. While we could have done that, there were far too many different designs that we liked to limit ourselves. We ended up with two plates in the same design (on accident, we bought them from two different stores,) but everything else was different.
We were done shopping by 2:00, and headed out on the road. Ashlyn and I both fell asleep. Allen was starting to fall asleep at one point, so he pulled into a rest stop to change drivers. Ranger always gets excited when we stop. Allen had just gotten out of the car and closed the door, when I got out of the car and closed my door to walk around. I had my hand reaching out to grab the handle, when Ranger jumped up against the driver's side door and pressed down on the lock. In Allen's car, when you lock one door, you LOCK. THEM. ALL. So, Allen and I were outside of the locked car, at a rest stop on Autobahn 4, without coats at just above freezing, while Ranger and Ashlyn were in the running car. Allen and I spent quite a bit of time gesturing to Ashlyn at how she could unlock the door. I even gestured to Ranger to pull up on the lock at one point. Ashlyn alternated between looking at us like we were crazy, crying, and laughing. Ranger kept jumping back and forth between the two front seats, occasionally hitting the warning light button. We used the SOS phone to call for help but, with the traffic, they couldn't hear us and we couldn't hear them. We asked someone else who stopped for help. Fortunately, he spoke enough English and was able to tell us that someone was on their way to help. He also let us use his cell phone to call ADAC (the European equivalent of AAA.)
When the Polizei showed up, they weren't much help. They also tried to get Ashlyn to unlock the door. They laughed a lot at the dog locking us out of the car. They gestured breaking a window, which Allen had already mentioned as one possibility. While they were standing there, Ranger walked across the front seats again. This time, instead of stepping on the warning light button, he stepped on the button to ROLL. THE. WINDOW. DOWN. (I'm not kidding! Our dog seriously locked us out of the car, and later let us back in.) We all laughed again, cheered and the polizei went on their way. We had been standing outside for 45 minutes, but now we couldwait inside for about 5 more minutes before the ADAC guy showed up. He didn't speak any English, so Allen used a bit of German and gestured about what had happened.
While Ashlyn crying made me feel bad, the whole thing was hilarious, even at the time. By this point, Allen was wide awake, so we got back on the road, stayed the night in Dresden, and drove home in the morning.