Barcelona. Pardon me while I channel my Spanish lisp, Penelope Cruz, Bathelona. Beach, city, gritty, glossy, wine, design, palms, pickpockets, harbors, highway hookers, tapas, tricksters, Gaudi, gondolas. What’s not to love? It’s dark, it’s light, it’s old, it’s new. Most undoubtedly it’s an adventure. I can now understand why Gwenny can’t stop talking about her beloved Spain.

While I saw fewer crimes of fashion in Barcelona than in Rome, Barcelona still had a few, most notbaly too many people who shouldn’t have been topless or totally nude on the beach. But, good for them. Why not shower completely nude in front of hundreds of strangers at the beach shower, removing sand from all your crevices? But I digress.

The shopping is great in Barcelona, a mix of cool upscale designers in expertly curated boutiques, outdoor markets, galleries and indie design shops with lots of heart — not to mention Zara and Mango, there’s a little something for everyone, particularly the aesthetically minded .

Barcelonians celebrate design. La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s crowning glory that’s been in the works for, oh 100 years, and is still under construction (I can so relate to this level of procrastination, how about you?), is just one mere example (think Alice in Wonderland on crack – in the best way possible). The post-Olympics shopping scene is another. Stroll around El Born (the Soho of Barcelona) and you’ll have plenty to whet your appetite.

Of course, while we were strolling and biking around Barcelona, I couldn’t help but think back to Woody Allen’s Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona.

Perhaps predictably, perhaps not, my favorite character was Maria Eleana (played by Penelope Cruz), Juan Antonio Gonzalo’s (Javier Bardem’s) impassioned, artist ex-wife. I love this image of her here, pink silk slipdress layered over black, topped off with a fringe bag, camera and cigarette. Effortlessly cool and beautiful, well minus the ciggy.

I’m on the hunt to get the look. Stay tuned…

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