Tired of always having to search for original gifts to take home? Well, take heart; we've made a selection of Girona shops where you're guaranteed to find a unique and original souvenir, whatever your budget and whoever you're buying for.
Bring together several kilos of Empordà ceramics, the surrealism of Salvador Dalí, a good dash of the tramuntana wind, a handful of skulls, and mix well. The result is Bussoga, which, as well as meaning 'bump' in the local dialect of Empordanès, is a studio created by Josep Motas, a designer from Sant Jordi Desvalls. Bussoga features one-off ceramic pieces made using completely traditional materials and techniques; it's the perfect marriage between tradition, the avant-garde and the hipster. But be careful, it can be addictive. And if you don't believe us, check out the hashtag #bussoga...
Head to the workshop of Eva Lozano and Trementina Lab with your mobile well-charged and Instagram account fired up. You'll find chalk paint paintings and organic material, plus earrings and necklaces that are (almost) more elegant than anything Audrey Hepburn ever wore. Viqui Aldeguer (the woman behind Trementina Lab) is an interior designer and Eva a jewellery designer. They share a workshop and a philosophy: less is more. Discretion, subtlety and organic shapes. And all made in the Empordà.
Sisters Olga and Estrella Roca think we should live a rock lifestyler, just as their parents did when running the legendary Erato record shop where they also sold condoms under the counter, and LPs without censored covers that they'd brought directly from London. And the new generation is no less groundbreaking: their star products are dresses inspired by fashion from the '40s, '50s and '60s, clothes that can give clients curves and tiny waists. They attract a diverse clientele, not only fans of rockabilly but also women looking for a special outfit that can also boost the wearer's sex appeal into the stratosphere. The accessories can help you become the definitive Sandra Dee while in the men's section you'll find mod style clothes.
Now that mobile phones are nothing more than an extension of our arms, we don't know how to live without WiFi and an anxiety attack isn't far away if the electricity goes off, some people in Girona have decided to go back to the good old days. And with no need for the Tardis. Vintage, located just off Plaça de la Independència, is a shop that makes shoes to measure using artisanal methods. You choose the design of the shoe and they'll make it for you. Simple as that. And all for the price of some eight or ten G&Ts! But be prepared to wait for your new footwear for about a month, because the process is slow and the waiting list long.
'Touched by the wind'. The name says it all; a declaration of profound love for the Empordà and its significant winds. In fact almost all the pieces in this shop are made locally, and as well as a shop it's also an interior design and creative lighting studio. On sale you'll find typical, but not stereotypical, items from the counties of Girona, such as ceramics from La Bisbal and works by artists established around the Empordà; you'll also discover creations from their own workshop, located in Camallera, where they restore old furniture and create one-off lamps.
Jewellery designer Nausica Masó is the granddaughter of Girona architect Rafael Masó (1880-1935), and her work is strongly influenced by the modernista movement of which Masó was a key member. In her creations, which she makes using either new precious metals or recycled ones brought by clients, you can easily see the duality of a style that is halfway between the organic and the search for rational balance. Having said that, as well as various geometric pieces that have clear architectural inspiration, there are others that tend towards ethnic styles and still others directly inspired by the work of the famous architect.
However bourgeois and proud of its past Girona may be, it doesn't have a huge number of old bookshops or antique dealers, except the odd noteworthy exception. El Portal del Col·leccionista is just one such exception. And it's truly exceptional. A small family business squeezed into an old house in the Jewish quarter, which opened its doors 40 years ago, it's the place to find items ranging from gossip magazines from the '20s to rare objects that are seriously sought after by bibliophiles. Don't let the crowded space or your own embarrassment hold you back - you can browse at leisure through the old postcards, cinema posters, soda siphons, stickers and rare editions.
On Girona's C/Ballesteries you'll find numerous interesting shops, but we have a special regard for Papers for two reason: firstly, the big range of Tintin products, and second, because its papier-mâché figures make the perfect gift for anyone. If you're a Tintin fan, we know you've probably already stopped reading this and are even now making your way to the shop. To the rest of you, we'll just say that you'll discover figures representing men and women exercising all sorts of professions, but if you can't find the one you're looking for, they can always make it to order. And they can even, through quick, confident strokes with the paintbrush, convert a male doctor, teacher or police officer into a female equivalent. We also love the pretty wrapping paper and notebooks with covers made out of the facsimiles of old magazines.
For more than 30 years, La Carpa (the name pays homage to the fish that live in the river Onyar, which passes just below the shop's windows) has shown children how to play and also excite the senses of grown-ups with their vintage-style, but still challenging, toys. Games, mobiles, puppets, lights for wall projections and perhaps the prettiest toy ever seen, a small wooden shoe with strings for learning and practising how to tie your laces so that you can go out running. If you go in, not only will you find the perfect gift for the youngest members of your family, but also for the inner child that we all have and all too often lose from sight.
Created in Girona's Barri Vell in 1993, La Puça sells accessories, clothes and sandals. It's definitely worth checking out their bags, money belts, wallets and card-holders, because you're not likely to find such original ones anywhere else in the area. The aims of the shop are to offer a variety of casual fashion, which can be worn every day, and be different from other stores in the sector. The brands they stock include Pou Nou, Singular Barcelona, Zergatik, Tranquillo, Coline, Lingam, Wanda T-shirt, Atic Wear, Nearlyblack, Demiim, Òsmit Joies, Dlp and Laroom, among others.