Take Home Treasures from Europe

It’s no secret that shopping is one of the things travelers like to do. This might have something to do with the reason why Tom Conrad, operator of Philadelphia-based Heart of Europe tours, has “a growing number of organized tours are dedicated to helping tourists discover their inner spendthrift.” Jayne Clark, writer for USA Today Travel, takes a look at Conrad’s travels in her article Rummaging through Europe.

“Conrad, an antiques dealer who launched his tours last fall, focuses on off-the-beaten-path areas of formerly Communist Eastern Europe. Shrouded by the Iron Curtain until around 1990, it is a rich source of antiques, discovered by European dealers but still relatively unknown to Americans.

The tour progresses from cluttered shops housed in converted farm buildings, monasteries and breweries to outdoor flea markets. Purchases pile up, from tramp-art frames to silver-plated spoons to enameled buckets to vintage doll clothes to a Punch and Judy puppet set. Not to mention larger items — a gargoyle, a life-size hound dog statue, an art deco dressing table and other furniture — that will be shipped.

It’s nearing 11 p.m. when they pile back into the van for the four-hour drive to the overnight stop in Bautzen. ‘Like I said, this is no Disney castle tour,’ Conrad says.”