Market Day

Trip Start Mar 01, 2014
Trip End Apr 05, 2014

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Flag of Portugal  , Porto,
Saturday, March 29, 2014

The sun is shining and we got moving. Off we went downtown by shuttle, travelled up the funicular and started walking. There were many things to see. Tile covered churches, theatres, the train station, the market and of course a city festival. 

Oporto, known locally as Porto, is a thriving industrial centre and Portugal's second largest city. In 2001 the city, whose historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, was the European Capital of Culture.

The Bolhao Market is open everyday except Sunday and it had everything to offer. It was not too busy today as we reached it around lunch time, the early morning hours are when to go and buy your produce etc. if you lived here. We are mostly tourists of every age group invading this colourful, very old, and eclectic space. The vendors are families comprising of many generations, all working to make their living by selling their product together in this place. It is obvious grandma takes the money, her daughter hands over the product, her granddaughter is arranging everything so it looks perfect and the great granddaughter is taking care of her sibling and the men are hauling more product in and preparing and cleaning it for the displays. They are also In charge of removal and will shut down and pack up everything. Everyone knows each other - you watch them conversing with each other, laughing, hugging and with great demonstration of hands, discussing I am sure, the issues of the day. Their hard work has given them a long life. With rosy cheeks, smooth skin and big smiles, some a little toothless - you just want to give them a big hug and say thank you.

I could sit in the sun on the steps and watch for hours. This is what a group of young students are doing, it is obviously their weekend gathering place. This is what an artist is doing, his head covered with a scarf so that the sun won't burn that spot where he is thinning. He has a pencil and a sketch book and he is focussing on the torn weathered canvas tops, or roofs of this place. He is elderly, his hair sits at his collar, grey and wavy, his face worn and wrinkled, his hands are tanned, thin and bent with age. I love this guy, wanted to take a photo but I would have interrupted him and he was lost in his work.

Some of you may know that I once and not too long ago expressed an interest in raising chickens at our cottage on the French River. I had great plans and SO when I heard a rooster crow in the market in the back corner, off I went. Roosters, laying hens, chickens, doves, geese you name it, they were in cages ready to be sold. Feathers of every colour and spotted hens, they were the best. Off to the side were dozens and dozens of eggs in layers of trays. Some of you will also know that I would name every one of my chickens, they would become close to me and at summers end I would not know what to do and I would make Tony take them to be "readied for the next stage of their lives"; I so wanted to let these guys all out of their cages. My gathering egg desire for my grandchildren and I are at rest. I am happy to tell you I have found the best egg lady ever in good old North Bay and every two weeks I get the best eggs ever! Oh, and a chicken or two.......

At the Butcher Shop, the men are in charge, reversing the roles, grandpa is taking the money. Butchering here is so different than in North America. We notice in Europe carving an animal when cooked takes on a whole new shape or cut. I think here they eat everything, "nose to tail" so every piece is chopped. This is especially true with poultry of any kind - It it always good to be aware of bones. At finer restaurants this is not the case. Fish was also available at the market but I have had the experience many times on this trip. Tony strolled in that direction, I was off to the "green" spaces where flowers, plants, seedlings, trees were selling like hot cakes. Everybody is going home to plant today! Others are bringing huge bouquets to lucky recipients tonight at dinner or tomorrow when they head to family for Sunday lunch/dinner "linner".

This market is exuberant and noisy and provides an entertaining view of life in Oporto. If you need anything it can be found here, including all household goods and pets! 

I will have to tell you about the rest of our walk later because there is so much, but I wanted to tell you about our evening at the Pousada. There is a wedding in another section of the palace with guests spilling out on to the gardens. What a wonderful setting for a wedding. Tonight we had a quiet drink in the bar in a cozy corner of one of the turrets before heading in to dinner for eight. I can only show you my bread plate as the lights went off at 8:30 for earth hour. It was beautiful. Huge candelabras filled the palace. You were truly taken back in time and who cared if the lights ever went back on. I had a wonderful beef filet and Tony tried the cod once again, he liked it. Tony's potatoes were perfectly mashed and mine were layered with cheese and caramelized onions. The cod was not salty and it was perfectly baked. We did have appetizers but believe me we will have them again and you need to see the photo and hear about a specialty in Porto.

It was time for bed, the clocks here will "spring forward" an hour they say in preparation for summer. We are now only a three hour time difference away, getting closer to home. We think we have our day planned for tomorrow but we will see what the weather brings. There is always something to do no matter rain or shine, me thinks it is supposed to rain.

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend,

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Karen on

So romantic

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