SHOPPING IS A FUN PART OF TRAVELING

A good part of traveling is “shopping.”  To see different products, fashions, art and accessories in various parts of the world is definitely part of the adventure.

You can find some shopping excitement in small towns and out-of-the-way-places everywhere.  This week we outline the biggest and best shopping areas.

BAHNHOFSTRASSE, Zurich, Switzerland

The Banhhofstrasse, Zurich’s resplendent, tree-lined exclusive shopping avenue, stretches almost a mile.  You’ll find some of Switzerland’s top shopping along its length, from leading clothing designers to high-end options for shoes, furs, accessories, china, and jewelry.  And, of course, Swiss watches.

RODEO DRIVE, Beverly Hills, California

Rodeo Drive manages to pack in enough audacious glitz to qualify as one of the world’s most glamorous and expensive shopping stretches.  Just off Rodeo Drive lies Two Rodeo, a strip of boutiques modeled after European boutiques, with cobblestones, fountains, and bistros.  Perhaps its least known amenity is the free two-hour valet parking.

LAUGAVEGUR, Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik’s main shopping street hosts numerous clothing boutiques and an assortment of shops offering accessories, leather goods, cosmetics, lingerie, books, music, and the finest handmade knitwear and woolen goods.  If you buy an outfit from one of the local fashion houses, rest assured it will be original.

THE GINZA, Tokyo, Japan

The Ginza, comprising eight blocks, is Tokyo’s most exclusive shopping area.  It boasts some of the most expensive real estate on Earth.  Luxury and exclusive retailers stand side by side with Tokyo’s landmark department stores, Mitsukoshi,  Wako, and the 14-story Marion.  The latter actually houses seven movie theaters and two department stores.  Many store windows feature elaborate displays that showcase typical Japanese culture.  At night colorful neon and fluorescent lights flood the Ginza with light, bringing the otherwise gray city to life.

FIFTH AVENUE, New York City, New York

Large landmark department stores (Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s) and small high-end designer name boutiques (Ferragamo, Harry Winston, Versace, Emanuel Ungaro, Gucci, Henri Bendel, Tiffany, Christian Dior) make New York’s Fifth Avenue a shopper’s paradise.

In December, the stores mount elaborate displays—doormen dressed as toy soldiers at FAO Schwartz, 26-foot sparking snowflake floating over the street outside Tiffany, winter wonderland scenes in Macy’s windows—that attract holiday shoppers and sightseers.  Strolling the crowded sidewalks of Fifth Avenue at this time of year is a special treat.

MAGNIFICENT MILE, Chicago, Illinois

Just a few blocks off Lake Michigan, North Michigan Avenue is home to such shopping greats as Gucci, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, and Hermes, as well as Bigsby and Kruthers, both renowned local retailers.  Be aware that the Magnificent Mile can be overwhelming on weekends.

AVENUE MONTAIGNE, Paris France

Avenue Montaigne, in the “golden triangle” between the Champs-Elysees and the Seine River, is the fanciest avenue in Paris.  The fashionable and the well-moneyed shop in the myriad luxury boutiques—Bulgari and Louis Vuitton among them—and haute-couture houses—Emmanuel Ungaro, Guy Laroche, Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, and Chanel—that lie within the avenue’s elegant buildings.

AVINGUDA DIAGONAL, Barcelona, Spain

World-famous fashion houses, jewelers, and art galleries line the sweeping Avinguda Diagonal.l which forms part of Barcelona’s five-kilometer (three-mile) shopping line.  Some of the finer shops are found on Passeig de Gracia, Augusta, Carrer de Tuset, and the exclusive Avinguda Pau Casals—small, elegant streets just off Avinguda Diagonal.  You will stroll through a mix of Gothic and modern architecture.  The avenue has fun and fine cafes to stop in for tapas.

VIA MONTE NAPOLEONE, VIA DELLA SPIGA & GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUELE, Milan, Italy

Milan is a fashion paradise and the center of style, with matching high price tags.  In the Duomo area, Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele house elegant boutiques and posh cafes inside romantic landmark Victorian buildings.

In addition to the internationally known fine fashion names, the area has inside favorites, such as La Rinascente, Milan’s most famous department store; Peck, a renowned food store; and Provera, a favorite for its vintage wine selection.  In the streets, there’s always a parade of well-heeled Italians casually modeling the latest fashions.

BOND STREET, London, England

Bond Street is home to the most elegant and expensive shops in London.  You will find designer clothing, perfume, art and antiques, jewelers, and more Royal Warrant holders (supplies to the royal family) here than anywhere else in London.  Old Bond Street, the short section at the southern end of Bond Street that joins Piccadilly, has been distinguished by the poshest shops since the 1850s.  Asprey and Agnew, Sotheby’s, and Phillips, to name but a few, all appear against a backdrop of elegant houses turned shops that once were home to a host of distinguished politicians, artists, and writers.

Our home in Marina del Rey is full of art and artifacts and memories collected in small villages, on ferries, in duty alleys, in town squares and even major department stores.  Our many travels come back to us as we walk around our house.  It was fun to acquire these momentos and just as much to reconnect with them regularly.

Keep looking everywhere you go, you’ll be surprised and delighted at what you’ll find.

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