It is so that once you get into perfumes every trip becomes a perfume hell and haven. I would get in a new town and start hunting for perfume stores, with my family following me confused because at this point I wouldn't care for anything else, architecture, atmosphere, nothing. I need to check all possible perfume stores. When I find one I know at a glance if I want to check it or not, mainstream or I go on with my hunting.
What I have learnt over last 2 years is that you have to give any perfume shop a chance. You don't know what you can find, thrown in a corner.
Take this one in Riva de Garda, Italy. Looked pretty mainstream from outside. I went in and first of all I see Cabaret of Parfume Gres (which I didn't have the chance to try yet). Looking better, they have Black Cashmere of DK (which is almost impossible to find in Germany), there is Theorema Fendi and there is Calandre Paco Rabanne. The shop had also leather goods in a next room and I just gave it a short look and there, in the corner, there is the heaven. I started shaking, I could see Lanvin, My Sin from far away. Old packs of My Sin nobody wants and for almost nothing. And there is also Asja Fendi, Eau de Cologne and Bel Ami Hermes, Ma Liberte Patou, some Gres parfums from eighties, Parfum Sacre Caron. All old packs. Do you know how that feels like? I go to Schnitzler in Düsseldorf or Galerie Laffayette in Berlin and I know what I can expect. I check the websites in advance and I'm looking forward to certain perfumes, what I want to check. But to find such a goldmine without any warning, huh, that's overwhelming.
That was my beloved perfume shop for a week, the ladies in there where really nice, let me try whatever I wanted as many times a day I needed it.
And I talk about the nice ladies because around Garda Lake the ladies in shops are not always nice. In Riva, too, small shop, I see Serge Lutens in the window so that's a sign it might be something more in there. Sonja Rickiel and then I can see old bottles of Diorissimo and some Patou's. And other, I can't remember. Because the lady would stay in front of them and not even move while I try to have a closer look. She was waiting for me to live. The shop was empty and didn't look like big business anyway.
Or Verona, there is this wonderful shop: Amouage, Lostmarch', Montale, Clive Christian, Killian, Penhaligon's and Floris, most of L'Artisan etc. Wonderful! Three tourists were trying different perfumes, the ladies in the shop being very helpful. As soon as they left the ladies in the shop rolled their eyes and made remarks. And that in front of me, a customer! It was the same with me, they were nice and got me whatever I wanted. Which was overall Geste of Humiecki&Graff (I live in Germany and here is almost no chance to see Humiecki&Graff, you have to go to Italy for it!). I don't even care what they did after I left. I was happy with Geste on my wrist (not great sillage, though).
It was on my last day of holidays that I checked in Riva some other shops, looking randomly at some clothes. And, wow, in the back of small boutiques, I found Ineke and Crishian Clive in one and Lorenzo Villoressi in another. Just little miracles.
Which made my trip to Italy. Plus the best olive oil money can buy. And three pairs of italian shoes.