All our guidebooks indicated that BA would be shoppers’ heaven. There are little shops everywhere and given their affinity for the cow, there are leather goods to be found at bargain prices. Everything but the moo, as they say.
Oddly enough, I didn’t see any handbags or clothing I liked but the shoes were great. My favorites were Natacha, Mandarine, and de Maria. Natacha and Mandarine have several locations but de Maria is a one-off. I was so excited at de Maria that I forgot to snap a photo. They’re on the second floor of a glass building and it’s like Christian Louboutin at J.Crew prices. I came home with 4 pairs of shoes.
The city was also great for paper. My favorite was Mono Blocks. The hidden shop is the back room of a tapestry and rug boutique so it was tricky to find. They’re a collective of graphic designers and writers who create great patterns - I loved everything. I went back several times and picked up journals, sketchboards, and pencils.
I always try to go to at least one bookstore or library when exploring new places just to check out the book scene. They did not disappoint here. The Guardian named El Ateneo Grand Splendid the world’s second most beautiful bookstore so we had to stop in. It’s housed in an old movie theatre and is pretty breathtaking. And it was packed! People. Excited to read. So neat. If you stand in the middle of the store and look up, all you see are glittering books from wall to wall. Little antique bookshops like El Faro del fin del Mundo were also really fun. The owner Fernando helped us look for drawings by local artists. Every inch of his tiny space was covered with something old, dusty, or original. We had to shimmy around in a single-file line.