Two and a half days isn't really long enough to discover a city's best kept secrets. Give me another week in Barcelona and I'm confident I'd have a list as tall as the Sagrada Familia's towers. I did, however, find two reasons to go to Barcelona if you love vinyl or yarn. I happen to have fast developing interest in both so I was very happy to stumble upon these shops in the El Born area of Barcelona, which I believe are very well kept secrets.
Discos Juando is a colourful second hand record shop to be found in the most unlikely of places - a short deep alley way leading up to Merca de Santa Catarina, one of Barcelona's best markets.
Featuring impressive collections of all varieties of music new but mostly old I could have got lost in the shop's soul, funk and 70s & 80s disco offerings, which are certainly the shop's biggest genres and some of my favourites.
What I love most about record shops is that they leave you alone. You can browse, pick up and inspect an LP and then place it back in its spot. And repeat and repeat, and maybe after the fiftieth time you do this the shop staff, who look exactly the same as the customers and are often doing precisely this same pick up and inspect action, well, they may eventually offer some assistance. The owner I spoke to (when I approached him) was very friendly and wrote down the shop's opening hours on the back of a flyer with a smile.
It was thanks to that shop that I actually stopped and realised something very special but very obvious. The word "disco" means record in Spanish. Although it now seems like it was oh so very obvious, I feel like I have found a bit of important history that was missing from my life.
Discos Juando can be found at 2B Calle Giralt el Pellisser, B arcelona (Tel: +34678549257) and is open Tuesday-Friday 11:00-15:30 and then after siesta time from 17:00-21:00. The shop is open on Saturdays too from 10:30 - 15:00 and on Saturdays 10:30-15:00.
Not too far away from Discos Juando is All You Knit Is Love, a charming wool shop stocking yarn in all colours of the rainbow. Too busy was I picking out some wool for a line in my ongoing travel blanket, that I failed to take more than a few photos of this shop.
I was served by a friendly man who looked more like he belonged back in Discos Juando than in a wool shop but he seemed enthusiastic about his craft. He asked what I was going to make with the wool (first in Spanish and then in English, of course!) and wished me luck handing me a business card which features a handy wool thickness measuring tool. As part of my 12 Travel Goals for 2012, I've taken to crochet with quite a surprising amount of enthusiasm and find myself seeking out wool shops wherever I wonder.
All You Knit is Love can be found at 8 Carrer de la Barra de Ferro Barcelona , Cataluña 08003 (very close to the Picasso Museum) and is open from 11:00 Tuesday - Saturday until 20:30 with a break for siesta from 14:00 - 17:00.
Click through to read more posts about my Barcelona trip or to find out how amazingly pimp the hotel I stayed in was.
Disclosure: Bird was nosing around Barcelona's alleyways, Discos Juando's vinyl and squeezing balls of wool thanks to easyJet as part of their Southend Bloggers Competition for a trip to Barcelona, which you lovely readers helped me win. Gracias!
Frances M. Thompson
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