Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities. My favorite part of the city was the Gothic section where all the buildings were super old and made of stone. The streets are very narrow but it is absolutely beautiful. And most importantly, the little stores that’s there are mostly artisanal which means are all hand-made and natural. I found quite a few beautiful places to shop for hand-made things.
- La Manual Alpargatera – http://www.lamanualalpargatera.es/ – They are the oldest espadrille store in Spain. Their simple espadrilles are like 14 euros and the more complicated ones are anywhere between 20 – 60 euros. They were absolutely beautiful and I bought 4 pairs of the simple ones. What I love about them most is that there is actually a pair of their espadrilles in the MET museum in NYC. How amazing is that? One thing though, if you want your espadrilles to be specially made, you will have to go to the store in the morning and have your feet measured. I, unfortunately got there in the afternoon and didn’t have time to go there any other time. It took me about 2 hours there to get everything bought. You will have a lovely time there as everyone is very helpful and nice. I bought my brother a pair of lace up shoes in natural colored canvas material. It holds its shape very well.
- Caboclo – https://www.caboclobrasil.com/ – My friend who lives in Roda del Terr, Barcelona, brought me to this store. Everything in this store is handmade. I actually didn’t buy anything while I was in the store, but am buying something from them for them to ship to me. I just didn’t want to carry so much because I know I will be buying a lot of beauty products. But their shoes are exceptionally well made and I can’t wait to have a few pairs of them in to wear. Their shipping fee is not that expensive. It’s about 10 euros. Shoes range from 100 – 175 euros, some of the summer shoes are even less. (I bought 3 pairs over emails when I got back to the states. Sara who is helping me with the shipping is super sweet and will help you with anything. I will post the pics of these shoes on Instagram once I get them!)
- Casa Gispert – http://www.casagispert.com/en/ – While I was in Barcelona hanging out with my friend who is a foodie and has a “blue apron” type of business of her own, I learned a lot about spices, especially Safron. I went to this place to buy some spices like safron, ginger powder, olive oil, peppers etc… This store has everything, from all types of nuts, to spices. I had a great time there just searching for spices. I bought sweet pepper powder, Safron, a bag of pepper for my brother to put in his electronic grinder, and ginger powder for my teas. The prices there are not bad at all! The sweet pepper powder was about 5 euros, Safron was expensive about 30 euros, and the ginger powder was about 10 euros (by weight). If you’re into cooking and spices, this is the place to go. I didn’t buy any olive oil because it’s just too much to carry!
- Pharmacies – If you’re into prescription Retinoid creams that is hard to get in the US, Spain is great to get those with no prescription necessary and with 0.1% concentration. They are a bit more expensive then Andorra. If you can go to Andorra, then these Retinoid creams would be cheaper. (see my Andorra post).
The above are just 3 examples of the type of stores they have there. Everything is well made and almost everything is artisanal.
In Barcelona, I of course went to La Sagrada Familia. Sagrada Familia is considered a temple, not a church or cathedral. It is an absolute beauty. Pictures won’t do it justice. You have to see it for yourself. I purchased the most expensive ticket where you get headphones that explains the details of the building and I am also allowed to go on one of the points. I chose the one that Gaudi built. You get to take an elevator up but you have to come down by stairs with 400 steps. So back in the days, they build those stairs super narrow. I was so scared that I would trip and fall that my legs started shaking. One wrong move and you can die (hit your head on the stone). But thank goodness I made it fine. When I got to the bottom, I needed to take 5 minutes and just sit. It is definitely a recommended place to go. There is nothing like this in the world and it should be one of the wonders of the world. I guarantee you, you will be mesmerized when you see this place.
My friend also took me to towns outside of Barcelona and other Catalonian city (Girona). One of the places she took me to a town called Rupit. It is one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen. It is also a big touristy spot. So a rule in that town is, everything that you build has to be in stone and wood. So the walls are stone and the doors / windows are wood. When you get there, everything is uniform. I love it! Absolutely beautiful and breath-taking. If i could move there, I would. As you drive into the town, there is a restaurant where you can have breakfast. My friend and I decided to have breakfast there. They gave us the freshest cheese. It taste fresh. It is incredible how we are missing this kind of things here in NYC. If you visit Rupit, you have to go there and taste their cow cheese. I devoured it in 2 seconds. That town also had a floating bridge that I walked on but will never walk on again. It moves as you walk on it… I was terrified. Luckily, there is another way getting to where I want to go. Worst part is, as I finished walking on that bridge, I saw a sign above the bridge saying no more than 10 people on this bridge. Seriously? Never again! If I move there, I will take the long way everyday!
That afternoon, my friend then took me to the city of Girona. It is one of the places that Game of Thrones were filmed. I saw the cathedral where Cersei walked down the stairs of a cathedral naked. Obviously some parts were photoshoped because the walkway isn’t that long but the streets were perfect for Game of Thrones because everything was so medieval! I guess this is why I love these towns so much because they look old, and they are authentic. Girona also has a very famous gelato place owned by 3 brothers. The gelatos are very different, they come up with different flavors. I am a pretty vanilla type of person, so the gelato didn’t do much for me, but if you like apple gelato, or ginger pear gelato type of treats, then this is a good place for you. Plus they make it very pretty! Girona also had tons of little shops where you can get spices, shoes, etc… However, I would say shop in Barcelona and have fun when visiting other towns/cities.
One thing I have to say I noticed about the Catalonia triangle is that every town/cities I go to there is always a good amount of squares. Squares meaning literally a big square in the middle of buildings. Because these towns/cities are so old, all the way to the medieval times where in these squares, there used to be markets. And still to this day, some squares have markets. I’ve seen tons of markets in Catalonia and Nice (see my nice post). I love that they kept these squares and made them beautiful. I’ve even been to some of those places in the middle of the night where no one is around, a bit scary but totally safe. Who wouldn’t love to wake up and go to the market to buy fresh produce from the farm? You can find everything there, from clothes, to fresh produce, to natural skin care products, to fresh honey. It is absolutely on the top of my retirement list. Unfortunately, I didn’t take too many pictures of the Markets, but just imagine a big square surrounded by restaurants and apartment buildings, and in the middle is tables, and tables filled with produces. OK, enough, see below.
For further suggestions of Barcelona, such as restaurants, please see my other Barcelona posts.
As always, if you have questions, please post below!
The Style Gourmande