Wednesday, January 23, 2013
PLAIN JANE IN SPAIN?
MADRID – A SHOPPER’S HAVEN
If upscale chic shopping is your style there are a number of exclusive shops available in Madrid, and if you would rather go organic shopping the flea markets and a number of quaint antique shops are worth a dekho! Those on a shopping vacation will be absolutely amazed with the abundance of bargains the city offers! That said, as one of the fashion hubs of the world, it is no surprise that Madrid is obviously known for its excellent shopping!
GRAN VIA & AROUND - MECCA OF SHOPPING & ENTERTAINMENT
The buzzing Gran Via which runs from the Calle de Alcala to the Plaza De Espana is a Mecca for the local and tourists alike. It’s the Spanish Capital’s answer to Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus and Broadway all rolled in to one! A great idea is to start from Puerta Del Sol Plaza which is one of the main centers of Madrid, with its streets splintering out to other famous landmarks and is full of shops and cafes. Spend time walking the busy alleys and streets that sprout from the plaza. Through this amazing street you will also come across the city’s most acclaimed commercial center, El Corte Ingles which is heavily equipped with a variety of clothing lines, shoes, cosmetics and even electronic gadgets. For a quirky surprise do drop by at the H & M store. After all, it’s not every day that mannequins pose in the glare of footlights and you find the changing rooms in the galleries of a former theatre. Also check out Zara a celebrated Galician store famous for turning round catwalk designs at lightning speed and selling them at amazing deals. The flow of new designs is dazzling, so if you like something, just grab it as it is not likely to be repeated. Move on to Calle Mayor and follow the signs to Plaza Mayor a beautiful square completely surrounded by old Spanish architecture. In the past, it was the center of festivities, bullfights, royal coronations and executions. Now, it is still a place for festivities, and the perfect place to watch street performers and tourists over a café con leche. All in all, Gran Via is where you can buy the best pair of designer coats, see the latest theater productions, take part in a gay parade, or just delight in the sweet urban clamor. In other words, this area oozes the essence of modern Madrid, serves as a favorite meeting point, and a splendid example of a place where you’d like to spend your day and evening!
EL RASTRO-OUTDOOR SHOPPING
Located between the La Latina and Tirso de Molina, El Rastro is the largest outdoor market in Europe, though opens from 8am to 3pm on a Sunday. In the 17th and 18th century it used to be a huge meat market which is how it got its name. El Rastro means blood stain and refer to the blood stains of the animals sold there…don’t worry none of that happens now. The flea market houses a maximum of three thousand five hundred stalls and is recommended to arrive early in order to take advantage of the many deals and stalls. The main street is full of clothing, souvenirs, jewellery, music, etc but it is in the side lanes where you would discover good bargains on handicrafts and antiques. It is easily accessible by train and bus and agreeably that even if the intention is to just window shop, it is unlikely for anyone to leave the place empty handed. The one phrase that you need to learn and will constantly use is Cuanto Cuesta? (How much is it?)
CALLE SERRANO-LUXURY SHOPPING
Most shops on Calle Serrano run parallel to Paseo de Castellana, as well as Calle Goya and are famed for where Madrid’s rich and famous buy their frivolities. From simple boutiques to the most incredibly classy stores, Calle Serrano has it all. Combining glamour with style and elegance, the place practically dignifies an entire world of high fashion. If you have the money and you don’t mind spending, this area is for you. From Gucci to the spectacular Armani collection, this street features the extreme definition of haute couture. Spanish designer labels include David Delfín, Amaya Arzuaga, Pedro Del Hierro and Adolfo Dominguez. With its hideously expensive yet totally gorgeous leather clothes and accessories, Loewe, Spain’s answer to leather is one store sure to attract.
CALLE DE AUGUSTO FIGUEROA- SHOE SHOPPING
This street is located in the Chueca neighborhood. The narrow street has lots of designer shoe shops at great prices. Interestingly Spain was one of the first shoe manufacturers, and this street proves it. In addition, La Calle Fuencarral, which is nearby, will offer you the coolest and most trendy shops in Madrid including Custo and El Mercado de Fuencarral.
So have fun shopping, a word of advice though, is to be alert at metros and touristy places though Madrid is a generally safe city with low crime rate, however tourists can be easy targets to pick pocketing.
Published in Jet Lite