Europe's largest department store is also one of London's iconic symbols; Harrod's. Sitting on a five acre site, with over one million square feet of selling space in 338 departments, Harrod's motto is "All things for all people, everywhere." Founder Charles Henry Harrod opened his first store, known as Harrod and Wicking, south of the Thames River when he was 25 years old. By years end, this partnership dissolved and Harrod continued on his own. Believing he could capitalize on the upcoming Great Exhibition of 1851, Harrod, in1849, bought a small shop on the same site of the current store. This was a single room with two assistants and one messenger boy (his son). He proved to be a shrewd entrepreneur, building the company into a thriving operation. By 1880, Harrod had purchased adjoining buildings and his employees now numbered 100. In 1883, a great fire reduced the building to rubble. Still, Harrod kept his commitments to his customers by delivering their Christmas orders, all the while obtaining record profits. A new building was quickly erected. By November of 1883, the store unveiled England's "...first moving staircase" (escalator). Nervous customers were given brandy at the top to revive them after their "ordeal". The Fayed brothers bought Harrod's in1985, and by 2010 it was resold to the Qatar Holding company. We were in total awe by the extravagance of the complex. You actually need a twenty-four page map (provided by the store) to find your way around. There is nothing like this in America.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.