The hottest new shopping destination in Sofia, Bulgaria is a shiny, glass-clad monolith on the busy highway between downtown and the airport. Called simply “The Mall,” its facade is plastered in a riot of international name brands: Carrefour, Zara, Benetton. There isn’t a Cyrillic letter, or a Bulgarian name, in sight.
Just as it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere for the barfly, winter-jaded New Yorkers can take comfort in knowing that somewhere on this planet, it’s feeling like summer.
Down in the balmy Southern Hemisphere, February and March are lounge-by-the-pool months — and nowhere more so than in Auckland, New Zealand’s rising capital of cool. If you’ve been hankering for Oceania, are passing through the South Pacific, or simply have miles to burn, head for Auckland, where locals turn every summer day into an outdoor party.
Where will you travel in 2011? It’s a juicy thought that inspires endless midwinter reverie, and never more so than during a week of waist-high snow drifts and slushy intersections. At times like these, I dream about places where holiday lights coil around palm trees.
I was in Barcelona, dropping by a friend’s shared apartment, when it started up. “I’ve been so busy here, I haven’t even had time to go shopping!” I laughed, and was met with this teasing response from my friend’s housemate — a Bulgarian cellist I barely knew. “No shopping? Why, for you, that must be as unthinkable as not building settlements would be for an Israeli!”