There is a cheerful and quirky chain of clothes outlets in Barcelona, called Desigual. Think rainbow colours and silhouettes of gazelles or zebras in the fabric design and velvet patches and little sequins. Check out their Flickr stream to get a general idea, Desigual Barcelona .
Three or four years ago, in a small boutique in Perth, I paid more than I ever, ever had before – or since – for a shirt with a Desigual label. We are talking three to four times the price that one pays in Barcelona. AND – the Desigual online store does not ship to Australia at all …
On my first visit to Barcelona, about a year ago, unfortunately we were there over Sunday and a public holiday, so I had no chance to visit the stores – just rushed into the airport outlet and grabbed a couple of pieces in the twenty minutes before the next flight.
Today, for the first time in the last 18 days, I spent time without another member of my family at all. I returned to our apartment with a new pair of boots and a huuuge sack of Desigual clothes. The boots I had seen for around $300 in stores in Australia, but they were priced at 119Euros. That, plus the shampoo that I bought for just 2 Euros when it would cost around $11 at home, really reminded me that I come from the city where living expenses are the 13th highest in the world.
After humming and ha-ing and attempting to email a couple of pics back to the family to get some advice about what looked better, I was unable to resist buying two large, heavy coats. Add to this a couple of tops, three dresses and a skirt. So far, so good … a complete wardrobe of funky clothes that I could never afford in Australia. I may not have hit the High Street in London or Paris, and I do not plan to do so in New York City … but I made up for it in Barcelona … but … but … but how was I to fit it all in my suitcase and continue with carry-on luggage ???
We had always planned to shoulder the expense of mailing back any excess stuff that we bought – while aiming not to buy excess stuff. There was a pile of souvenirs, gifts for family and friends and concert programmes sitting on the dining room table waiting to be mailed back home before we fly out for the USA the day after tomorrow. One of the coats was scrunched into a tiny plastic bag, while several other pieces were rolled very, very tightly and shoved into an old Cornflakes packet.
After much pantomine involving taking a ticket from an automatic ticketing machine, not having a pen and trying to work out which window at the central post office sold boxes for packing – and 44Euros later – we had sent our excess gumpf back home. Now I need to distribute the other half of the new clothes over four suitcases. Plus find a spot for those extra boots…
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