So there I was in Barcelona for the Festival of Santa Eulalia (parades of giants, human towers, fireworks in the streets, light shows and mappings...) and what should I find but three places of wonder (well, loads of places, actually, but these three in particular).
El Ingenio is the place lots of the masks and heads for the festivals have been made - for over 170 years. And they're still at it, having been rescued by a new owner and by finding a young craftsman to carry on with the traditions. Thanks to Laia (short for Eulalia, by coincidence) who looks after the shop, I was able to indulge my love of eclectic oddities. I encourage you to visit, but I also hope we will be able to carry a few El Ingenio items here on this site in due course...meanwhile, find therm at Carrer Rauric 6 in the old town between Place de Sant Jaume and the Ramblas in Barcelona.
El Rei de la Magia claims to be the oldest Magic shop in the world and may well be so (Davenports in London have been trading since the 1890s, and El Rei claims 1881 as their start date). Whatever. The fact is that it's a lovely, friendly shop where amateur lovers of conjuring like me will be welcomed. Carrer Princesa 11 just east of Jaume I metro station in Barcelona.
El Rei de la Magia also have a museum of magic just up the road at Carrer de les Jonqueres. It could do with a little tidying up, but nevertheless it kept me occupied for a good while. It's the sort of place you need to be afficianado to really enjoy, but if you are, you really will. If you see what I mean.