Gaudi, Dreams of Yarn Stores and Extreme Vintage.
I spent three days in Barcelona and loved it. I’ve never been before, it’s one of those places I always wanted to go, and once I booked the tickets everyone seemed to be telling me it’s their favourite city. Usually this does not bode well for the city in question… I am easily turned off by mass interest as it usually means that whatever book, movie or city just won most popular, contains a certain formula or quality which makes it un-likeable to me. Now some may call me a snob for this, but I am just going on years of experience. Life of Pi. In Bruges. Rome.
But I LOVED Barcelona. While the attractions were nice I mainly just loved finding different areas to wander around the streets until I got lost and started going in circles, got out my map, re-orientated myself, and did it again. I love stopping for Tapas and wine, mainly because it maximizes the amount of different kinds of food I can eat in a day. I thought Tapas would be tricky eating on my own but it was fine. Except for always getting over-excited and ordering too much food and having to leave some. That made me sad.
I found so many cool shops in Barcelona. I usually don’t spend a lot of time shopping on holiday but I loved looking at all the different stores and small businesses. One gem I found was a jewellery store where I bought my new-favourite-necklace, I was chatting to the German woman there as I bought it, and it was so nice to know that it was her store and she had designed and made all the jewellery. She said she has stock sold in Australia but couldn’t remember where, you can find her on www.mimischoler.com.
There was also a knitting store called All You Knit is Love, that I kept finding and losing and finding again, finally coming across it when it was open. This was owned by an American woman, and I refrained from asking her her life story so that I might attempt to replicate it day by day, to also find myself living in Barcelona owning a yarn store! I also refrained from gushing to her that she is living my dream (and to give it back please).
I bought some acrylic yarn which I’ve never really used before but I loved the bright colours, and another kind of shiny wool that might be nice to use once I’ve eventually leant how to make knitted flowers and the like. A lot of the wool I can get at home but these two are from Turkey and I haven’t seen them before.
There was a great vintage shopping district in the dodgy part of town, El Raval. The seconds street is called Carrer de la Riera Baixa, I read about it briefly in my guide book along with the warning of pickpocketing in this area. Now I like to think I’m quite streetwise and this does not usually faze me, but walking around El Ravel and constantly being warned to watch my bag, and spying more than a few dodgy characters around, I felt more hardcore walking around here than I ever did in Russia, Asia, Romania, or any of those other places my family always worry about me travelling to. This was unexpected. However I did like the added element to extreme-vintage-shopping. And I only became frightened of thieves once I had purchased the prettiest skirt KNOWN TO MAN. I bought this from a store called M.O.T.E.L, from the sweetest and prettiest girl, from Valencia. She was playing some really lovely albums in the store and wrote them down for me: Agnes Obel, and Dark Dark Dark. I think these are two different artists and not just the name and album of one… I’m going to look them up when I get home (to much, much cheaper internet access!)
I sent Grandma a postcard from Barcelona on the odd chance it may get home before I do… safe to say that even if it gets there a day before, at least 15 people would have seen it before I see her next. Grandma loves a good postcard, and no family, friend, or distant neighbour gets away without being shown the latest to arrive. Grandma is very proud of us travelling, it’s gorgeous. She often keeps the postcards for you though, creates a bundle and then presents them to you on your return, for you to keep. It’s always hard to convince her that they were sent with the intention of her keeping them, but you can usually manage to leave them with her.
I still haven’t bought her anything! If I can’t find anything soon it’s going to be another spoon for the Spoon Collection….