Category / Markets

Markets

La Boqueria, Barcelona

They said we should visit the market early in the morning. Early, does not really apply to us, a happy family on a summer holiday vacation, eager to experience the vibrant diversity of life, and what a life could be found in Barcelona!

Sunny and warm, this is a city that never sleeps. Life floats through leanly architectured streets, zigzagging its way from a blue haven beach, through Gothic medieval quarter, to Parisian-like high-end luxurious shopping streets.  Yet, unmistakably there are uniquely “Barcelona” signs wherever we may go. From the famous Gaudi buildings, to the tapas-bar restaurants leisurely inviting us on every corner, to the Catalonian flags gracing the windows and the smiles of the beautiful people passing by.

So much to see, so much to experience. Days and nights merging long memorable hours on a string like a necklace of pearls.

Hence, we are no early risers. We take our time for breakfast, enjoying the stunning roof-top terrace view and savoring every bite from the delicious display of food. Our hotel 1898, at the La Rambla is only a mere five minutes walk from the famous La Boqueria market. We pass its iron gates just around noon and our senses are immediately assaulted by colour, aromas and noise.

It is a real market. One, that has been in operation for hundreds of years, seeing generation after generation passing by. Nothing seems changed, yet still… It is so beautifully nostalgic to see the elderly ladies, well dressed and coiffured, meeting and talking to each other gossipping and caring, not at least in a hurry to go back and cook at home. Life is simple and peaceful, and in this instance, delicious. Fresh fish, crab, lobster, seasonal vegetables and fruit, exotic tropical mangosteens, lamb and pork meat, nuts and sweets. The display is endless.

A colourful bar around the corner, transforms the sea-food catch of the day into an irresistible temptation, while people line queuing for a chance for taste. I am drifted away through the stalls dreaming, if only I lived around the corner…, if only I could buy this…., if only I could cook… La Boqueria is a dreaming place for every person passionate about food and a daily visit for many others lucky to be calling it a home.

Markets

Covent Garden, London

Don’t you just love London? Its colours, its pace, its smiling, purposefully vibrant people? There are many places in the world where I can feel at home, but none like London, Covent Garden and partiqulary the British Museum. Every time I go back there I feel like coming home. Very strange indeed, as I have never lived in London. Yet, my heart is immediately awakened each time I step out of the train at the St. Pancras stations. A deep breath, a smile and my soul is ready to be enraptured, ready to be pleasantly surprised, ready to be re-born again.

Even the market places resonate its radiant splendour. Whether you are walking on Portobello street or quietly sitting at Covent Garden – life is generously offering its exuberant display. Street performers, entertainers, opera singers, orchestra musicians, book sellers, ice-cream sellers, exotic spices, high-end boutiques, cider bear, paella, antiques, Apple Store, StarBucks cappuccino, Le Pain Quotidien morning breakfast…

London has so much to offer. Still, I like it when out of the blue it is offering us the unexpected. The classic brand shops are always a delight, especially now with the fast approaching Christmas season, but small, local, street food markets are a hidden jewel, full of charm and cheer.

We stumbled upon one in Kensington recently and this market was really special. It is one thing to sample classic street food, it is something entirely different to see a multi-cultural community standing side-by-side selling their pride home made products, chatting about family and politics and sharing a heart-warming smile.

At one side was a man from Africa, confidently chopping coconuts and selling fresh coconut milk. At the other side was the Italian family selling sausages and salami. Next to them one could buy cheese from France, Moroccan flat pan cakes and chicken pastilla. Further on Portuguese custard tarts, English carrot cakes, French macaroons and Turkish delights. Shall we try the Moroccan flat pancakes or the Turkish kebab? What about the meringues or the Victorian sponge cake? Spoiled by choice we have the time of our life and when the stomachs are full and the feet tired of walking we reach out for a cab and we are heading happily home, grateful for the day, cherishing all exciting impressions and looking forward to embracing one more day in this amazing city.

Markets

Roasted Chestnuts, Aachen

Beautiful, colourful, warm and wise October… If I would have a colour for each season yellow-orange would be by colour for October.  We are just returning home from a weekend in Germany, and the explosion of red, orange and yellow trees along the high-way is still dancing in front of my eyes. Is there another month more rich and blanket-warm than October?

This month has so much to offer.

From the gorgeous sunflower blossoms and exuberant chrysanthemums to the heavy bounty of ripe apple fruits.From the long walks in the woods to the the warm hot chocolate inside the cosy cafes.

From the roasted chestnuts sold on the fashion streets of Milano to the mushroom baskets offered on the market place in Germany.

From the hint of summer in the gentle touch of the last sunny rays to the melting sweetness of the Christmas ginger biscuits.

Autumn is there. And with it comes the nostalgic music of the ending year and the glittering shine of the holiday anticipation. Shall we spend New Year in Germany or shall we stay at home? What shall we cook for the family Christmas day celebration?

The end-year holidays will come… but not yet, not quite yet. There is a whole season of golden beauty to be beheld, morning mists to be embraced, apple tarte tatin cakes to be baked. A season of remembering what has been and cherishing what is to come.

A season of colour… A season of joy… A season of passion… And a season of hope.

Markets

Flower Market, Leuven Belgium

I love walking in Leuven on Saturday morning.

The day has not yet fully began, the streets are quiet and I have all the space and all the time to fully embrace the city, making it my own, giving it all my undivided love and attention.

Like a well practiced dance, we take always the same steps, through my favorite shops, coffee corners, quick check for books and magazines, quick glance at the antiques, long pose at the flowers and the fruit and vegetable market, and before not too long, I am heading home carrying more than I can bare with my heart and soul full of smiles.

Today was no exception and as a result I have brought home the most amazing holland tulips I have ever seen. They reminded me somehow of the fourteenth century flemish still-life paintings, so rich in petals almost roses like. Very rare and extremely  beautiful flowers. Today they are still closed, but tomorrow will reveal all their glory.