As it was a Sunday, many stores were closed.
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THE BEST WAY TO SHOP
So we thought that a private shopper with a vehicle (in this case, a huge and very comfortable bus) would be a practical and convenient solution for hopping around the city, looking for stores that were open.
There was a time in Spain, not too long ago, when every single store was closed on Sundays.
If you really wanted to go shopping, the only alternatives were the weekend flea markets, as regular stores were all shuttered.
So if scouring for antiques and secondhand goods was not your cup of tea, you had to simply grit your teeth, settle in for a long and lazy Sunday lunch, and wait until everything was back to normal on Monday.
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FINALLY, SUNDAY IS ALSO A (HALF) SHOPPING DAY
These days, some stores have decided to open for business on Sundays.
This is pretty practical, and I never understood why this didn't happen any sooner.
Autumn clothes on the racks at Roberto Verino in Madrid
We all know that stores remaining shut on Sundays have always had something to do with European labor laws and unions.
However, opening on Sundays is really win–win for everyone. Staff willing to work on Sundays get higher and more pay, and many company employees can go shopping on their day off from work.
ALL ABOUT THE MADRID SHOPPING TOUR
Mar Sarda de Abreu, director of the Madrid Shopping Tour, picked us up from lunch, with a list of suggestions on where to go and what to see on a Sunday afternoon in Madrid.
Mara can of course do private shopping tours for families or groups of friends like us, visiting Madrid and wanting to see the best of shopping in this city.
She can also plan trips to the La Roca Village outlet in Madrid, about 40 minutes out of the city.
THE BEST TOURIST OPTION
ESPECIALLY FOR THE OUTLET MALLS
She also has regular scheduled shopping trip tours with a big bus, that tourists can avail of at an incredibly reasonable price.
There are a couple of options here, and an especially popular route is the one that picks up tourists at a designated place in central Madrid each day and takes them to the La Roca Village shopping outlet in Madrid.
For the outlets, you definitely want to rent your own self–drive, hire a chauffered car, or take one of Mara's shopping tours. Don't think of taking the train out as it's incomvenient and what a hassle it'll be on the way back, when you're laden with shopping bags.
Mara's outlet mall shopping tours are just as inexpensive – or just slightly higher – than taking the train, and so much more relaxing.
REASONABLE PRICES AT CORTEFIEL
Happily, there were some stores of Cortefiel that were open for business. We wanted to see Cortefiel because this is a well–priced quality Spanish brand with good designs.
Mar also took us to see some reasonably–priced but talented Spanish designers like Roberto Verino, who creates very wearable, good quality clothes that are not priced atrociously.
VIP SERVICE AT ROBERTO VERINO
Mar knew everyone in the stores, so she introduced us to the manager of Roberto Verino, to ensure that we got VIP service.
She was quick to add, too, that she does not at all operate on commissions from stores, so she's free to recommend places that she thinks her clients would want to see.
I really liked Roberto Verino's designs, except for the fact that most of the items on sale were already from the fall collection, which is not quite usable in Asia.
THE DRESS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN MINE
And speaking of things that tug at my heartstrings, there's only one dress I regret not buying - but I just didn't have the time to pop into the store and try it on.
So all I have is a photo of it, to remind me of the dress that could have been mine, accompanying me all over the world on my never–ending, and never–endingly eventful Travelife.
MADRID SHOPPING TOUR