Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Road Trip with Ranger Dog

This week, we decided to leave VERY early Saturday morning to go here:

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.


Farrah said...

There is something about a Polish pottery trip that always brings about strangeness. We were in our rental Audi and had driven all night across Germany from Heidelberg for some pottery shopping. When we got to the border town, we found out that our rental would be confiscated if we tried to drive into Poland, something about it being in another zone. We couldn't find a place to spend the night, so we slept outside of the Bahnhoff (illegally) in the car. Die Polizei knocked on the car window, upset at the situation. I explained to her what was going on, and she told me we could only stay there until 5 a.m., at which point the Bahnhoff would open. Oh, and a bleeding guy with a head gash was wandering around, which was uncomfortable, too. At train opening time, I found that there was only a morning train and a night train going to and returning from Poland for the pottery; however, the attendant suggested that we make a run for the border, crossing and recrossing, so we could make the trip faster, because the trains were unpredictable. Obviously this didn't seem like a good idea, so we left Eastern Germany and puttered on to Nurnberg, crestfallen that we would have no pottery adventure to tell.

I am glad you got your pottery and had such an entertaining trip.

Natalie said...

Now you got me thinking. You see Portuguese pottery and tiles are famous here. I don't have any pieces yet. I couldn't figure out what I wanted. However, at a dinner party the other night, where the hostess displayed hers, I decided that I'm going to mix and match from all different parts of Portugal.

However, the Polish pottery is tempting! The pieces in your pictures looked so pretty. I'm sure I'll stick with Portuguese pottery (and we'll probably have some tiles made up or I'll take a one of the many classes offered here to make some of my own) but given the chance to shop in Poland, I may not be able to pass it up...that's if I get to Poland...thanks for sharing! While I wouldn't pass up living in a mild climate and living across from the beach, I would LOVE to be closer to other countires in Europe.

Alaska Dunns said...

The pottery is beautiful! And your story is hilarious. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the humor of it all while it was happening.

Harrisongranny said...

Oh good grief! I can imagine how scared ALL of you must've been...even during your laughter!

Angie...I'm so jealous of the pottery....maybe when John & I come later...we can do that shopping?!

SO GLAD ya'll are back and more long trips until the baby comes....HEAR ME??!!

House Dad said...

I'm jealous. Around here, the locals just make a bunch of stuff out of hemp and consider those things to be collectables.

Katie said...

That is so funny about Ranger!!! You'll never forget this trip.

I'm most of all just impressed that Allen went shopping with you on no sleep--and willingly! Where did I go wrong?

Anonymous said...

I love the pottery! The story about Ranger was hilarious! Even though you had a rought time with Ranger, that will be a day that you will never forget.
I hope that all else is well with you guys.

Grandma Vicki said...

Too funny!!! Fortunately the pottery was worth the trip and you'll have wonderful memories everytime you use them.

sara said...

OMG! Talk about a comedy of errors! Or maybe Ranger is smarter than we think? Regardless, it makes for a great story. And at least it happened on the way home, otherwise you may never have gotten all that fabulous pottery. Beautiful stuff!

Anonymous said...

Your pottery looks awesome Angie! I'm sorry to hear that the prices are rising there too. I can not believe that Ranger locked you out, only to "let" you back in later! That's hilarious! Thank goodness Ashlyn wasn't freaking out! That would've been a little more stressful. My advice, buy more pottery than you think you need, I wish we would've! And apparently the prices are only going to get higher! You can always give it away as gifts later if you have too much!