I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The Market Building
Back home we have the Halifax Farmer's
Market over in Halifax, but it is not a 'real' market by the
definition the rest of the world uses. . . . . more 'craft' market
with a few food vendors. Regis says I can find a market where ever I
travel, and have managed to find them in most locations I have
Now Olhao has a real market, and it
operates almost every day. There are grocery stores here, but they
are mostly small corner operations where you can get canned goods,
wine, or speciality items. The market contains the majority of the
food you need. You can but meat or vegetables at the corner
'supermarket' in a emergency, but really, why go there when the
market is available six days a week.
Farm Fresh Food
Sobeys, Superstore, Loblaws, and the
other huge supermarkets have not taken over Olhao yet. If you need
bread or rolls you go to the bakery, and will probably pick up some
delicious pastries with your 'fresh from the oven' rolls or bread.
For most everything else you go to the market.
Selling her Produce
Olhao's market is in two beautiful
large brick buildings down on the waterfront. One contains fresh
fruit, vegetables, spices, grains and other things. The other
building is the fish market, and you can also find fresh meat,
cheeses, but Olhao is the main fishing town in southern Portugal, so
the building is mostly seafood. Around the outside of the building
are the Portuguese 'Snack Bars' – mostly I think these sell beer
for the husbands to sit and drink with their friends while wives are
inside the market stocking up for the evening meal.
Saturday Market Day
The fruit & vegetable buildings
contains stall after stall of people selling lovely fresh produce.
Tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes grown in a garden, piles
of fava beans waiting to be shelled, red green & yellow peppers,
crisp lettuce, onions, leeks and garlic. You can buy strawberries,
raspberries, bananas, lemons and oranges. A couple of euros will buy
you a 4 kilo bag of slightly smaller oranges to make into juice (And
we wondered why you couldn't get good juice in the store . . . . .)
In between you will find stalls selling a wonderful selection of
honey, delicious almonds and other specialities. Other vendors sell
spices, vast buckets of olives, cages full of live snails, or bins of
dried beans and rices. At one end of this building there are also
butchers selling chickens, pork, and rabbit, as well as a variety of
delicious portuguese sausages and cured meats. There are also a
couple of stalls selling a large selection of cheese, and as in
Spain, they make a large percentage of their cheese from goat or
sheep milk, so I am very happy.
Walk outside the middle door of the
vegetable building and you know you are headed to the fish market.
Inside are tables of melting ice loaded with fresh fish and seafood.
Don't bother going on Monday however, because the fleet is tied up
Sunday, so there won't be any seafood until the boats return later
that day. You know everything is fresh. There are eels, octopus,
squid, and so many kinds of fish I cannot identify. Of course the
names are all in Portuguese, so we rely on what is recommended. On
our first visit we wanted sardines, to fry up for supper (no sardines
do not come in a can here), but were told it is a bit early for good
sardines, we should wait for june to get the best fresh sardines. We
elected to take our chances with the available ones, and Pete cooked
them up with some local port. Wow, I can't imagine how the 'good'
ones in June would be.
Selling on the Seafront
On Saturday this wonderful market
actually expands with stalls spilling out onto the sidewalks and the
waterfront malecon, and it seems that the entire town comes to the
market to not only shop but more important to socialize and catch up
with friends and relatives or find out the local gossip. Off to one
side a gypsy market sells clothes, crafts, and everything else you
didn't know you needed.
We do need to go to the grocery store
for coffee and dried pasta, but our grocery bag will not be very