Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shoe Palooza

Since we moved here, I've heard about this place called Shoe Alley. It's described in terms of wonder and awe, and people say things like, "You haven't been to Shoe Alley yet? Oh, you HAVE to go." I certainly wanted to go, and I'm not one to wait almost a year to visit a place called Shoe Alley, since that pretty much sounds like my paradise. A market that sells only shoes - I can't believe it took me this long to visit in the first place. The above picture really doesn't do Shoe Alley justice. I was trying to take a discreet photo, and instead, took a photo that looks like a police raid is about to happen. Regardless, Shoe Alley is as wonderful as I was led to believe. Open only Friday through Monday, it's stall after stall of shoes, along with a few vendors who've branched out into upholstery fabric, leather purses, belts, and a couple of clothing stalls. I expected a bunch of cheap shoes and lots of stalls with the same, ugly, made in a factory by underpaid and abused laborers, shoes. Not so. Well, I don't know about the last part - that could be true. I never trust those "Made in Italy" tags. But each vendor had different, lovely, offerings. We were a group of three, two newbies and the old pro friend who agreed to drive us there and show us the ropes. She was on a mission and needed to find certain shoes, so she headed off for her task while my other friend and I oohed and aahed our way down the first two aisles. Then we needed a water break and a chance to rest our eyes. Back into the fray, we made it down one or two more aisles before the vendors started packing up (at about 12:30pm). As we rested in the shade at our meeting point and celebrated our great finds (shoes for three, five, ten, and 20euros, fabric, and a leather purse), we realized we hadn't even made it through half the market. I immediately began mentally calculating my upcoming schedule and when I could return to this wonder of wonders - soon, soon.

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