The Ladybug’s vintage hunt in Madrid

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (6)

One of my main new year resolutions was to visit places that I have never visited before, or that I visited for a very short time. Most of the places that I had in mind were in Europe (then easy to reach for a weekend break) and more specifically in Spain. Even if it is a few hours away by plane I can say that I barely know this country and that I want to know it better.
That’s why the first trip of the year was in its capital, Madrid, that I visited only for a few hours many years ago while traveling to Cuba. I was totally impressed by this beautiful, dynamic, happy and elegant city. I probably had low expectations and I was amazed by the life and energy that you can breathe in Madrid, especially when you get out of the usual touristic tours and views.

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (1)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (2)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (3)

I arrived early on a Friday afternoon and I immediately headed to Malasaña area where, based on my online research, I could find the best vintage shops in town. Well, I was completely overwhelmed by the number of great vintage shops in the space of a couple of streets; most of them were next door to the other and I completely immerged myself in a vintage tour of the area until I realized it was already time for dinner: Retro City, La Mona Checa, Williamsburg, El Rincón de Tía Jo, Biba, Magpie, Flamingo Vintage Kilo, Aramayo Vintage, Le Freak Olé just to name a few of my favorite ones. They have quite different styles from each other but they are all worth a visit because I found lovely stuff at great prices in each of them. Being also sales time in February I can say I got some (ok, many!) vintage bargains there: from dresses to coats and shirts, the first vintage afternoon in Madrid was pretty good and the area is really nice.
After my dose of vintage shopping I was ready to seriously tour the city, starting from the beautiful Palacio Real (the Royal Palace), personally one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen, Plaza Mayor, la Gran Vía (the biggest shopping street in Madrid, where I also found out that Mango is less expensive there than in Italy…you know what was the consequence of this discovery, right?), San Miguel market (where I ate the most delicious “croquetas de bacalao”, codfish croquettes), Plaza de Colón and the amazing Madrid museums: El Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and my favorite one, the Reina Sofia (where I also found a beautiful exhibit dedicated to Fernando Pessoa).

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (10)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (12)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (5)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (11)

On Sunday morning I woke up early to visit the famous Rastro Market, a flea market where you can find a lot of souvenirs and gadgets but with a very nice antiques and vintage area that is worth the visit. From there I walked all along the lovely Calle Embajadores to get to the popular area of Lavapiés, with its little coffee shops, little markets and colored walls where you can breathe a different and more real Madrid, like in Malasaña.
I have to say that I ate like a pig in Madrid…tapas, croquettes, tortillas, hot chocolate and churros (perfect against the cold weather!) but my favorite place for tapas and for a tasty potato tortilla with caramelized onions was Juana la Loca in the La Latina area (very nice area too!). Make sure you get one of these and their amazing tapas are to die for!
Although the weather was pretty cold (that’s why I am wearing my adored vintage shearling coat from I Love Vintage in Milan and my Madame Ilary lurex turbans) the sky was always clear and the sun was at least warming our hearts! Like this city that I didn’t want to leave because I enjoyed everything there: people, food, atmosphere, shops, museums and all these little areas outside the tourists’ path, that are probably the best areas of Madrid. Oh…and the vintage! Definitely one of the most interesting vintage cities in Europe (it was hard to put all my vintage bargains in my small suitcase but I won!).

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (8)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (9)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (7)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (14)

The Ladybug Chronicles Madrid (13)


The Ladybug’s vintage hunting in Prague

The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Shopping in Prague (7)

Look at this art nouveau building in Prague: this is just one of the many examples of art nouveau and liberty style in town. When you arrive there for the first time and your eyes are already full of vintage architecture, you already know that you will love this town and that you will find a lot of vintage around!

Indeed I was totally amazed by the vintage side of Prague: wonderful art deco buildings and doors, beautiful museums, a vibrant nightlife and tons of hidden gems almost everywhere, even outside the typical touristic views. This is indeed one of the good things of vintage hunting abroad: many times the most interesting shops that you found online are not in the city center, then you have the chance to visit new areas of the town that you wouldn’t have visited.

As I didn’t know any vintage shopping address in Prague I made a quick search online and picked a few addresses to visit on Friday or Saturday (on Sundays most of the shops are closed). I had to take a lot of trams and trains to join the destinations but it was worth the effort!

The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Shopping in Prague (6)

The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Shopping in Prague (5)

My favorite shop in town was Bohemian Retro in the Zizkov area (one of the most interesting areas, a bit complicated to reach but absolutely stunning!). I found there a lovely British lady, Becky, who has been living in Prague for more than 20 years! When I asked about her shop (that I really adored, typical English style vintage shop!) she told me that she wanted to create the kind of shop where herself would love to buy and go back again. I think that she definitely succeeded as her tiny shop, full of gems of clothing and accessories is really a not-to-miss in Prague. I really had the feeling of being in Brick Lane in London!

My second favorite shop in town was Boho Vintage, completely different style, more like a concept store with beautiful vintage pieces (especially dresses and bags) and some new interesting handmade pieces. Beautiful location and vintage homeware completed the atmosphere. I knew that they opened a second shop with a café but I couldn’t manage to visit it. The shop is very elegant and classy even if the pieces are totally affordable and good quality.

The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Shopping in Prague (2)

The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Shopping in Prague (3)

Nearer to the city center (not too far from Wenceslas Square) is another tiny little shop, Fifty-Fifty.  There is more stuff than place for walking (if there are more than two people it can be a bit complicated) but it is full of affordable vintage pieces, one of those places where you will definitely find something to buy!

Just one little advice: if you walk in the city you will see a lot of second hand stores; second hand is very popular in Prague but not as interesting as it may be in London. You won’t find anything vintage and after trying a few I just stopped, so if you are tempted by a huge Second Hand sign, don’t waste your time!

The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Shopping in Prague (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Shopping in Prague (1)

The Ladybug’s Vintage Adventure in Berlin

The Ladybug Chronicles - Berlin Vintage 05

Last Tuesday I told you about my trip to Berlin, but I deliberately didn’t mention my vintage tour of Berlin because this deserved a post of its own. I’ve heard many times that Berlin is the capital of vintage in Europe (a bit too risky a thought, lest we forget London?!) or at least in Germany, and I must admit that everything is vintage in Berlin. The vintage atmosphere is everywhere, there is something melancholically retro in the air that makes you breathe vintage from the very first moment your feet touch the ground! Vintage and second hand have their second home in Berlin for sure! I would have loved to have spent more time there to visit, for example, the huge Humana Vintage and Second hand store or many other shops that I easily found online, but my time was limited and in Germany Sundays are for relaxing and most of the shops are closed.

But I managed to find some interesting shops and tips for your quick weekend in Berlin.

First thing to do on Sunday morning (after a big brunch… Berlin is very famous for that!) is to head to Mauerpark: not only for the lovely quasi hipster area and for the nice park (wonderful if it happens on a sunny day, like when we were there!), but for the adorable Flea Market where you can find vintage clothing, antiques and collectable pieces along with handmade accessories and finger food! The Flohmarkt is very crowded on Sundays, but it is really worth a visit! I managed to find a vintage ’80s brooch (for 2 euros), two Prince vinyl records to add to my collection, a handmade wool headband (to keep my ears warm!) and a souvenir canvas bag of the market!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Berlin Vintage 06

The Ladybug Chronicles - Berlin Vintage 07

The Ladybug Chronicles - Berlin Vintage 08

During my Saturday afternoon tour I tried to do my best to visit a couple of vintage shops which wasn’t easy, especially because they were all quite far from the city center.

I managed to visit the famous Sing Blackbird vintage shop, considered by many the best vintage shop in town with a nice cafeteria with handmade cakes inside just to have a quick tea and cake while shopping! The shop is very nice indeed with very beautiful pieces and honest prices… such a shame that the dresses and shirts that I fell in love with didn’t fit me!

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Another crazy shop was Jumbo Second Hand, a must-see especially for the immensely huge, mind-blowing collection of vintage shoes! They have a great collection of vintage dresses too, and very affordable prices! But as it happens sometimes, there were so many great pieces that I couldn’t decide what should come home!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Berlin Vintage 01

Last but not least maybe my favorite so far, Made in Berlin: two floors of vintage happiness and enthusiasm! Here again I got lost in their huge collection of shoes and bags and even more dresses and shirts at very honest prices. I took ten pieces (more not less) into my changing room, but again none of them fit me which left me very disappointed because the shop was worthy a massive buy! I will definitely go back on my next trip to Berlin, and I’m sure I’ll have my luck with sizing!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Berlin Vintage 04

The Ladybug Chronicles - Berlin Vintage 03

The Ladybug’s Trip Through Vintage Munich: The Best Vintage Shops in Town!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Munich 2015 04

As you may have seen from my Facebook page, I spent a few weeks in Munich this past January doing a lot of work, but with the weekends came freedom and with freedom came time to spend hunting vintage treasuries in Deutschland!

There’s a lot to say about Munich and about what to do, eat and see while there. But we’ll discuss these things in the next posts as I decided that I would start with… vintage!

We all know Berlin as the “vintagiest” town in Germany, but you will be surprised to find out how many (great) vintage shops I found in cold snowy Munich.

As you can imagine, I did some research before hitting the road and some other shops appeared during the journey, but let me tell you about my favorite so you too can put them on your “must stop” list while visiting this extraordinary city!

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The Ladybug Chronicles - Munich 2015 01

The Ladybug Chronicles - Munich 2015 02

Tricia Leonard was the first on my list. It was the first place I visited and the shop where I left my heart (for many reasons). First, because of Tricia herself: a beautiful jazz singer with a history that taps into Milan. We started talking as if we were old friends (yes, that’s the power of vintage!). She is such a lovely woman with great style, taste and an incredible story, and her shop is a direct reflection of her person. You won’t find a lot of clothing, but tons of amazing accessories and jewelery dating back to the ’20s. You won’t believe your eyes! Her collection of brooches really left me open-mouthed, but more than that- I fell in love with her fantastic collection of hatpins. Hatpins are one of my favorite vintage accessory ever! It’s very hard to find good ones, but in Tricia’s shop- I couldn’t decide which one to pick (I picked three indeed!).  I’m telling you, this shop is to-die-for!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Munich 2015 03

The Ladybug Chronicles - Munich 2015 06

Next door to Tricia is another lovely vintage shop, very different style, more eccentric and maybe more the style of shops that I expect to find in Berlin… I would call it a postmodernist shop! The name is Cat with a Hat (adorable!)… and as I love both (cats and hats) I couldn’t help stepping in to take a look! Very colorful and funny shop with some statement pieces that are really worth your time!

Walking in the same area (the so-called vintage area of Munich) we found another crazy vintage shop… I would say more surreal: Alexas. There you’ll find amazing statement pieces from the late ’70s and ’80s, but stay away if you don’t like buying items that demand the spot light because Alexas’ inventory is notorious for capturing the eye! I bought a lovely velvet 1980s does the ’20s hat (you can see it in the last picture with my new hatpins!).

The Ladybug Chronicles - Munich 2015 07

The Ladybug Chronicles - Munich 2015 08

Last but not least: Vintage Love… a real paradise for vintage lovers! If I was richer, I would have left with half of the shop, but I tried on tons of clothes and shoes (and bags) even if nothing really fit me well (good news for my credit card!). In Vintage Love you can find almost everything and of very good quality.  Now, in glorious vintage custom, you’ll have to take your time and search, but you can find whatever your heart desires: from wonderful designer gowns to more casual clothes, shoes and very rare handbags and jewels. It is a bit more pricey, of course, but the pieces are well priced without much exaggeration (you know I am an expert on vintage pricing!). The shop is very spacious and you will probably have that feeling of “Where should I begin?” But once you’ve found your way, you can get completely lost in this wonderful shop that is really worth a visit.

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