A Buyer’s Experience in Greece, Italy and France
Traveling from Rome to Athens is not at all stressful – fifteen minutes from the hotel to the airport, an easy check-in and a flight just a bit longer than Los Angeles to San Francisco. The things that Rome and Athens share are lots of cars, noise, pollution and graffiti. But they also share great food, tons of visual stimulation, and great history lessons with every step you take.
I just want to walk by the Foro Romano time and time again or around the Plaka and look up at the Acropolis, especially at night. Both cities look better at night when they light their past and allow the present to be hidden by darkness. In Rome, you walk by shop windows with merchandise you would never turn your head for at home, but the Italians really know how to dress a window. And don’t even get me started on the great artichokes in Rome or the feta and yogurt in Greece.
As the buyer for Eye of the Day – Garden Design Center, taking care of business is quite an adventure. For three days we drove from suburb to suburb outside the center of Athens visiting shops, reclamation yards and places that you couldn’t say were either, looking for old garden accessories and singular items to be made into fountains. We decided to call off our visit to the gypsy camp in Athens when we learned that it was too dangerous. I know when to listen to good advice. We did meet with the gypsy the next morning in the center of the city and we bought most of his old copper pots for a bargain price. Prices aren’t as low as I would like, but the Greeks and Italians are having a hard time dealing with their new economic reality. One sector of business that seems to be booming is the spray paint business. My sidekick, Joe Kalina has visited Athens dozens of times over the last thirty years and said sadly “It looks like a war zone these days”.
Now it is our job to load the truck onto the ferry for an overnight cruise to Ancona, Italy, from which we will drive to the Rocco factory in Siena and load the fifty exquisite old and antique Pithari that Kostas has found for us over the last two years. Then we will be back in Rome the next day on our way to Paris for the Maison et Objet to see our French vendors and maybe find something new. The new items we are buying are expected back in United States in time for our 14th Annual “Getting Ready for Spring” sale which features major discounts on nearly every line and runs for almost a whole month from Feb. 13th to March 17th.