Looking for a well-curated vintage store in Berlin‘s Mitte district? I’m sure The Golden Circus will please you in every possible way. The place is a fruit of a long-life passion for fashion and crafts that Sonia, the owner, has. Ancient silk kimonos made according to traditional Japanese techniques; ethnic textiles from Central Asia; handmade accessories (if you’re here, note Caralarga, a Mexican jewellery brand, and those Sicilian bags from 1950s Italy); vintage clothing from Burberry, Moschino and others. “Wearing these pieces, Sonia explains, makes you aware of the incredible amount of work and the fantastic workmanship that was put into them. In this sense, all of them are real treasures.” Can’t agree more with that. Rather than going for another mass-produced coat, why not invest in a piece that has its story?
It’s a small garden, or rather a well-hidden oasis in the heart of Lisbon, where the amazing giant porcelain creations of the 19th-century artist Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro bask in the sun. Scattered amongst the trees, bushes and live peacocks, you will be surprised to find the oversized snakes, lizards, bees, frogs, lobsters, mushrooms and cats all over the jardin. Honestly, I was quite shocked that nobody really knows about the existence of this place (I’m more than grateful to this Purple Travelpost that I’ve found few weeks ago!). At least, you can walk around the garden all alone, in silence. It was the last point of my spring holidays, but one of the most magical.
If you’re staying in Seville for a few days, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit the Alhambra (by car, if possible). The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, one of the biggest cities of the Andalusia region in Spain. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 and many years later converted into a royal palace by the Sultan of Granada. Until today, the heritage place delights its visitors with the arabesque-style architecture, filled with meticulously carved ornaments and thousands of tiles. One can’t get enough of the orange tree scent present all over the local gardens and indoor patios. And if you pretend for a moment that you don’t see those crowds of tourists, you might suddenly feel like a majesty yourself…
In case of Seville, you really need a day for the ‘tourist’ part and a day (or two) for absorbing the local spirit. Not that the ‘tourist’ part is somehow tedious or exhausting. Quite opposite – the Seville Cathedral is a jaw-dropper in every aspect, from its monumentality (it’s the biggest gothic cathedral in the world) to opulent ornaments. Meanwhile Real Alcázar, a royal palace that’s a preeminent example of Mudéjar architecture, is renowned as one of the most beautiful spots in the entire city. Those gardens are a dream, I tell you! To capture the essence of these two, be prepared for hours of walking. But the visual treats here are worth it!
In case of a less ‘tourist’ experience in Seville, the city is known for impressive vintage stores (Buhoneras Vintage, Cigarrera, for intance) and tapas. There are, however, two camps with tapas – the first is more traditional, while the other is willing to experiment. Casa Ricardo is a crowdy place, where you will try various Spanish tastes and see how the locals dine – slowly, loudly, with friends, family. Eslava is a more contemporary tapas bar, which is equally busy in the evening (you might even wait in a queue to get a place). Here, you will find small plates with fried sardines, tuna tataki, sea anenomes (!) or classical ham. Whatever you take – it’s going to be delightful.
But most of all, enjoy Seville in a relaxed pace – observe the streets, enter the stores with hats for flamenco dancers, sit in the sun.