We have come to Barcelona to work on Born to Shop Provence Plus-- Barcelona being a short hop from France and a good way to get to Provence, since you have to drive anyway. THe weahter is cool; women are out on the streets in their fur coats and high heels. It's not thaaaat cold.
We stayed one night at the new Mandarin Oriental, a gorgeous modern hotel right on the main shopping street Passeig de Gracia, all modeled in white with wavy bathroom tiles and window screens that go up and down with a remote control.
Now we have moved around the corner to the Hotel Palace which was built by Cesar Ritz in 1913 and recently remodeled in plush Regency style with willow green velvet in the lobby and a room of beige and flocked velvet wallpaper. The TV is the mirror over the fireplace and the balcony would make Evita proud. We open the balcony doors to use it as a fridge when shopping for ham and chorizo.
Our first night in town we walked a few blocks to El Corte Ingles, the biggest department store in town and went to their supermarket in the basement. We took a rolly suitcase so we could carry bottles of olive oil back to the hotel-- hopefully they will make it to Paris with us and then on to USA. I could not find my favorite brand (with the rooster on the front) but noted that the oil is sold by the varietal...in the California Central Coast I know my grape varietals, but only a few of the types of olives. I bought Picoul which i think has a full flavor and much body...or will after I have schlepped it around the world.
I had breakfast in the Winter Garden of the Palace Hotel today -- it is a true Edwardian Winter Garden and is the location of one of my dog Toffee's greatest pranks. I brought him here when he was but a puppy and noted how well behaved and quiet he was under the table, until I noted with distress that he had escpaed into the garden portion of the Winter Garden and was digging half way to China. That's what dachshunds do, I guess. It is very lonely without him here now.
On the first night at El Corte Ingles, I fell in love with some accessories from the Designual line which in times past I would have told you is a Custo wannabe. Now it's my favorite store and line here in BCN, as it is written in many store names. They have a store at the airport, so I almost can't wait to leave.