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I’m in Heaven!

16 May

After leaving Wilde (vintage sunglasses) Cao directed us to Reira Baixa, a street literally two minutes walk from his own shop. He said we would find many vintage shops there! And boy did we! This was definitely the vintage destination we had hoped for!

To me it completely makes sense for vintage retailers to group together. From my research for my dissertation I gathered that the attitude of many shopkeepers is that they are not competitive with other stores as they are all selling something completely different and special, but they attract a similar clientele.

My favourite store on Reira Baixa was ‘Lullaby Vintage’– a cute, narrow vintage boutique run by a lovely married couple.



Lullaby has a very distinct retro, mod atmosphere, although it offers clothing and accessories for women, men and kids from the 1950s-1980s.

After talking to Cao at Wilde and being instilled with passion for opening my own store, I was on a role. As soon as the shopkeeper greeted me I started chatting to him.

I cannot express how much I love talking to people who are passionate about vintage! He was asking where I’m from and commented on my 1960s shift dress. He laughed when we told him we were actually about to catch our plane and were lugging our suitcase round with us in the name of vintage shopping!

I told him how much I love vintage but there isn’t a great deal in Birmingham and I order most of my clothes off etsy.com.
He also had a mod look about him and we both agreed the 1960s was the best era!

Lullaby Vintage has been open just over two years but the owners have been collecting vintage clothing for a great number of years.
What is great to see is when each piece is authentic vintage, which it definitely was at Lullaby!

Stock is broken up into eras, which is great for customers who are unsure about vintage and what is from which decade!

Accessories and other trinkets are dotted around the store, making it a fascinating treasure trove to look round and discover things!

After a long, polite chat with the man we left to carry on our homage down Reira Baixa, at which point my boyfriend turned to me and said…

“This is amazing! Doesn’t this inspire you to open your own vintage shop?!”

I could not have agreed more!

Did you really expect me NOT to buy anything?!

Going Wilde!

16 May

Well its our final day in Barcelona and we’ve managed to fit in a vintage shopping trip before getting on the plane.

Currently we are sat in a quaint cafe in the Raval area of Barcelona, sipping on freshly squeezed orange juice after visiting a number of cool and quirky stores, including Wilde.

A new generation vintage shop where we were attended to by the owner Cao, who told me that everything started with his passion to collect Vintage Sunglasses.

For several years he was collecting models in different auctions, flea markets, private collections and a variety of secret sources all over the world.

Some pieces in the collection ares unsold stock from Paris, London and United States and everything is hand-picked and in mint condition, dating from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

He treats every single item they choose as the treasure it really is because he believes there is nothing better than Vintage stuff!

Cao’s passion has lead to his latest project; the launch of his own line of sunglasses ”  The Black Oscar Sunglasses”.

It’s so inspiring meeting someone with true passion and expertise for what they do everyday!

Thank you Cao!

Nooks and Crannies!

15 May

We are currently sat in the beautifully quaint courtyard at the Museum of the History of Barcelona, surrounded by orange trees and the faint sound of the bustling city below us.

I wonder if this is where my freshly squeezed orange juice came from?

Exploring the nooks and crannies of the city is one of the most interesting ways of seeing the real Barcelona. The Gothic Quarter is home to a stunning collection of buildings and side streets…

Delicious!

I always wanted to be called Clara!

Barcelona Cathedral

Cheap tat!

Pretty!

Eclectic window display!

Eclectic window display!

Must dash! A tour bus has just pulled up and we want to bag ourselves some top deck seats!

Parc de la Ciutadella

15 May

A more conventional park thank Parc Guell, the Ciutadella is located in the city centre of Barcelona. We visited the park this morning and now feel thoroughly relaxed

There is a very calm atmosphere; although the park is busy with families, runners, sunbathers and musicians alike, everyone is relaxing on the grass, strolling round the footpaths or rowing a boat on the gentle lake.

The park is also home to the zoo, botanical gardens and parliament.

The focal point of the park is the Cascades Fountain; a stunning structure of archways, golden statues and water. However, when the fountain was first built it did not have any of the beautiful details we saw this morning. After being slated in the press for this, a further 6 years were spent on making it into the magnificent sight seen by hundreds of people everyday, including us…

barcelona park

Barcelona Park

I love how there is no actual function or need for this fountain, it was built purely for the sake of creating something beautiful.

Park Güell and Back!

14 May

This morning we took the metro to the nearest stop to Park Güell.

I have been to this beautiful site a number of times in the past but every time am even more awe-struck by its beauty and uniqueness!

Park Güell was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. From 1906 to 1926 Gaudí  lived in one of the houses in park himself, but not one that he had designed!

Park Güell’s complex design means paths can take you off route and you end up discovering a different part than you had planned! This is all part of the beauty of the park and although it’s very busy with tourists, there is a very peaceful and calm atmosphere.

The two buildings at the entrance, though very original and remarkable with fantastically shaped roofs with unusual pinnacles, fit in well with the use of the park as pleasure gardens and seem relatively inconspicuous in the landscape when you compare them to other buildings designed by Gaudí.


We eventually made our way to the large cross at the Park’s highest point, which offers the most complete view of Barcelona and the bay.


We got a fabulous panorama of the city, with the Sagrada Família and the Montjuïc area visible in the distance.


Finally, we made our way to the central focal point of Park Güell; the main terrace which is surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. This is covered in broken ceramic pieces, to form a wonderful mosaic effect.


Apparently, to design the curvature of the bench surface Gaudí used the shape of buttocks left by a naked workman sitting in wet clay!

Underneath the terrace a small orchestra play music, which is amplified by the fantastic acoustics supplied by the shape and height of the terrace above! This added further ambience to the park and I actually took a moment to sit there with my eyes closed to take in the beautiful music; Bach, Air

… which was quickly interrupted by all the illegitimate souvenir merchants being chased off by the police!!

Here they are playing Pachelbel’s Canon…

After leaving the park we casually walked into the surrounding neighbourhood in the direction of the city. After stumbling upon a number of quaint, tree-lined streets the famous Sagrada Família appeared at the end! So we sat outside a cafe directly opposite and ate some paella while taking in the magnificent site!

Not sure what we’ll do tomorrow (take it as it comes) so check back and see!

W… W… WOW!

14 May

So last night after a lovely dinner at a Barceloneta restaurant we strolled to the W Hotel, stated as “The best hotel in Barcelona” by Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer on ‘Vacation, Vacation, Vacation’!

It isn’t hard to spot as the building is 26 floors high and a distinctive modern structure, set apart from the many other fabulous pieces of architecture in the city.

w hotel barcelona

So we followed the big lit up ‘W’ along the Barcelona sea front.

I was immediately impressed from the instant I walked through the main doors into the lobby.

The walls are covered in shimmering plastic discs, making me feel like I was at Studio 54! I almost expected Andy Warhol to be sat at the lobby bar!!

w hotel barcelona

w hotel barcelona

It reminds me very much of a 1960s Paco Rabanne disc dress, which later influenced architect Jan Kaplicky when designing Selfridges in Birmingham.

paco rabanne

selfridges birmingham

What we really went to W for is a cocktail in the ultra-cool Eclipse bar which is on the very top floor and offers panoramic views of the entire city!

However, there was rather a long queue when we arrived so nonchalantly ordered a drink from the lobby bar and sat (or should I say lay, as we were on a double  sun lounger/bed, complete with canopy) by the pool.

w hotel barcelona

When we went back inside the queue had gone so we eagerly went to the front! We were taken up in the lift by the door attendant who complimented me on my vintage clutch as we left the lift and entered Eclipse!

The bar was buzzing and rammed with young, fashionable people, both tourists and locals.

w hotel barcelona

w hotel barcelona

After ordering two (delicious) watermelon martinis we managed to bag ourselves a seat in the window so we could take in the amazing view of Barcelona by night.

eclipse bar

w hotel

barcelona view

Needless to say, the whole experience was perfect and definitely added some luxury to our trip!

w hotel barcelona

Cheers!

Must go… we’re off to Parc Guell, will tell you all about that later!

Getting from A to B…

13 May

What I have quickly picked up on in Barcelona is the number of alternative ways people choose to travel around the city, instead of driving.

Of course there are cars, however modes of transport such as motorbikes and mopeds seem to be a favoured, perhaps because it is free to park them. They are all over the place!

As I don’t drive myself I have to find other methods of transport in my everyday life. Although I love riding my bike, Birmingham roads aren’t the best equipped for cyclists. However, in Barcelona, there sometimes seems to be more push bikes on the road than cars!
Bikes are available to hire from various places on the street or shops that hire them out for a day or half day!

This isn’t my first trip to Barcelona, but it is the first time I have used to metro here and I have to say I’m very impressed. It is never delayed and trains arrive within 5 minutes of each other, making it really easy to get from one side of the city to the other very quickly (perfect for super-keen tourists who want to see EVERYTHING).

Barcelona by Night…

12 May

I just want to acknowledge how beautiful this city is at night as well as during the day!

Here are a few pictures I just took whilst walking around aimlessly after dinner…

 

On Barcelona Time!

12 May

I have just got up mega early as I am about to jet off to beautiful Barcelona to soak up sun, sea and culture! I won’t be neglecting my blogging duties so watch this space for what I get up to while I’m there!

So it’s ‘Hasta Luego’ from me!…

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