This afternoon I visited the Plaka, a historic shopping district that mingles fine jewelry shops with stores of fur coats, imitation luggage stands with tourist t-shirt shops. Stylish people are everywhere, shopping at open air market shops and expensive clothing and leather goods stores. You won’t have to worry if you’re looking for an open-air cafe to people watch – you’ll find one on every corner.
It’s an interesting area, with old architecture standing proud amidst new structures. In many ways, the area reminds me of New York City. As I walked for miles, I happened upon the garment district with shops of gorgeous fabrics and trim, and even more shops of wedding gowns and specialty clothing, then wandered into a more definite area of flea market type venues and moveable street-corner stands. What I mean by moveable is that the “vendors” would sell their wares until they spotted police, at which time they’d pack up fast and move to areas without police presence.
Nearby Monastiraki is the true flea market district, with vintage shops nestled side-by-side with tourist junk shops. I found a true gem in a shop just down the street from the Central Market. I’d tell you the name, but the reciept is all in Greek, and our alphabet doesn’t translate neatly! The store was hard to describe, actually. Imagine four stories of crammed-to-the-ceiling vintage stuff (not all nice, mind you). Nothing is priced. French turn-of-the-century furniture sits next to old modems. Hand-painted icons are alongside Oreo cookie tins. There is barely room to walk without knocking something over. But I was delighted to find one thing I’d set out to purchase while in Europe – a 50-year old handmade wooden bread bowl. Now my trick will be getting it back to the UK and then home again to the US!