Yes, you did read correctly and no, you’ve not dived into some kind of alternative Ernest Hemingway sub-culture. This is Las Arenas, the vast, former bullring in the heart of Barcelona.
There’s been a bullfighting forum here for decades, but its transformation into a shopping centre is only a matter of weeks old. Designed by celebrity architectural practice Richard Rogers, this is an imaginative use of a structure that housed a spectacle that has fallen from favour in this part of Spain. And on the day of visiting it was mobbed - so much so that access to the upper levels was restricted as there were too many shoppers on the escalators.
It’s the kind of thing not seen in shopping centres these days and when the state of the Spanish economy is considered, this is even more remarkable.
For those making a visit, the interior is every bit as engaging as the view from the Gran Via. Pride of place goes to the Nespresso flagship store, which combines loyalty with a separate club with its own concierge and a store design that makes even those with a caffeine aversion want to take a look around. This is a mid-market mall and not where you might have thought the crowds would be flocking, given the provision already in place in the Catalan capital for those in search of a retail fix.
What it does perhaps show is how a jaw-dropping building coupled with a good retail mix still has the capacity to pack them in. There are a number of impressive buildings that have been turned into retail havens in the UK, although bullrings are, to date, thin on the ground.