I enjoy shopping, especially window shopping in different countries where I get to see strange products and exquisite crafts all making for a sensory overload. My pick of five markets that I particularly enjoyed in the recent past:
|CARRICATURE ARTIST,WEST STREET,YANGSHUO|
Shopping in Bali- bargaining is the `norm'. Bargain hard, you will often hear the shopkeepers screaming at you saying, "No, no bankruuupt," but that should not deter you. A definite must for craft lovers is the Denpasar - Ubud road, a 20 km stretch of antiques, stone and wood carvings. Paintings, masks, bead work, necklaces, and wall pieces all jostle for your attention.
|GLASS WARE IN LJUBLJANA|
|THE CLOTH HALL, KRAKOW|
Florence is an artist’s dream: walking around brings a surprise at every corner, but it’s equally a shopper’s paradise. Italian leather is famous all over the world for its quality and I enjoyed browsing through this colourful leather market outside the Santa Croce Cathedral in Florence. Bags, belts, wallets- take your pick!
Yangshuo in Southern China has a bazaar on West Street that looks like the outpost of the end of the world. It’s otherworldly, colourful and packed with the most exquisite items at the most ridiculously low prices. Bags (I indulged), scarves, fans, lace, umbrellas, jewellery... the list endless. Together with the crafts on offer you get to see the local tribes sitting outside shops just embroidering or having a meal in a bowl!
Ljubljana the capital of Slovenia is a city made for walking. There are many bridges, a castle on the hill and eye catching architecture. The Triple Bridge is a landmark and when you cross it there’s an atmospheric market with wooden toys, wild honey with fruits (a local delicacy), bags of dried herbs and colourful painted glass in a myriad hues and shapes: yours truly indulged again!
Krakow in Poland is a medieval city frozen in time: the epicentre is Rynek Glowny or the Cloth Hall which now houses stalls vending central European arts and crafts. There is glass ware, wooden dolls, bright chess sets with various versions, local embroidered dresses, and amber from the Baltics. Spend at least a couple of hours here!