Mercato del Capo

Moving on from the rather disappointing La Vucciria market we head onto the far more bustling and hectic Mercato del Capo.

First we walk through the textile and cloth merchants section. With every texture and hue of fabric on show it’s a colourful sight.

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I loved this little haberdashery / homeware stall with its vivid wool balls, fans and other miscellaneous items.

Everywhere you look there’s amazing details, whether it’s the weather beaten religious posters or the weather beaten stall holders!

Food comes in every colour of the rainbow, here’s a selection of reds and greens. Tasty!

Then you head across to the somewhat gruesome fish mongers with their heaps of shiny fish, slippery squid and beady eyed prawns.

Sicilian men pass the time with good natured squabbles and occasionally passionate outbursts!

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Every stall is a fascinating spread of everything needed for home cooked meals. Here’s a nut, seed and jam stall.

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Vivid bunches of peppers are temptingly displayed along with mountains of produce.

A young stall holder takes a break from selling everything from bottled water to cheeses.

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Finally here’s another look at the bright little chilli peppers that can be found on many stalls.

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Lots more pictures to come of this fascinating old market.

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Borough market

Fresh back from a weekend whizzing around London and visiting a few new places. One of which is the Borough Market in Southwark close to the Shard. Apologies for fuzzy pics, they’re all taken on my mobile!!

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Borough has long been linked with food markets and as far back as the 11th century, London Bridge attracted traders selling grain, fish, vegetables and livestock.

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In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has been there ever since.

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In 1755, the market was closed by Parliament, but a group of Southwark residents raised £6,000 to buy land known locally as The Triangle and reopened the market in 1756.

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The Triangle is still at the heart of the market today.

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There’s a wide range of stalls including fish, bakery, confectionery, dairy and more.

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Above is a selection of sea food, all artistically arranged for the discerning shopper while below are a colourful array of veggy friendly salads.

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There’s a global food vibe happening with French Duck confit and lavender from Provence along with tasty continental pastries.

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Italian cheeses are piled high alongside a mouthwatering selection of bread and brownies!!

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A favourite photogenic confectionery are the colourful little macaroons in a plethora of flavours including Earl Grey tea and pistachio.

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Or you can just stick to the tried and tested traditional tastes such as chocolate.

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These adorable little tins of liquorice would make perfect keepsake pots for all your useful stuff.

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More colourful snaps of veg and drool making cakies!

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And some intriguing mushrooms (shudder) wrap up our whistle stop tour around Borough market. Well worth a visit if you’re close to the Shard. (and have an obsession with markets like me!!)

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Mercado Central de Atarazanas

Malaga central market is another foodie heaven, crammed to the rafters with a veritable cornocopia of fresh goods, meats and jars of anything you can imagine.

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Malaga Central Market, also known as The Mercado Central de Atarazanas is a gorgeous piece of architecture as well as a haven for nibbles and tasty treats.

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The gorgeous stained glass window portrays the history of the building before its current incarnation as a market.

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The now land locked market was once the city’s shipyard, a place where the ruling Moors used to repair their ships 600 years ago. The water once made it all the way to the market’s entrance

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Whether you’re after a selection of olives or a dollop of greased up meat, this is the place to come.

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Iberian pork loin covered in an oily looking orange grease. Apparently it comes from special, acorn fed piggies!

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There’s lots of by products too. Above is the Chorizo iberico – a cured sausage made from chopped pork, pork fat and paprika. There are hundreds of regional varieties, some containing garlic and herbs.

Lomo Iberico is the cured tenderloin of the pig covered in lard made from the fat surrounding the pig’s kidneys.

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However as a life long vegetarian I prefer to loiter in the less meaty aisles with the amazing piles of fresh produce.

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From onions the size of your head to all types of leafy salads, spices and garnishes. There’s a mouth watering selection to chose from.

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Of course the market would grind to a halt if it wasn’t for the stall holders. Above are just two of the colourful characters we encountered.

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Below are some of the famous Malaga almonds. Almonds were one of Malaga’s major exports, in addition to being highly popular in local cuisine.

They are one of main ingredients in a variety of traditional recipes such as “ajoblanco”, a cold soup with crushed almonds.

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Has it got your mouth watering yet? if so why not head over to Spain and sample of few markets yourself!

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First ever Asian markets

My trip to South Vietnam in 2008 marked the start of my love affair with Asia and all its quirky delights. It’s also the first place I encountered some of the cavernous trade markets with their endless produce for sale that I grew to adore.

In Ho Chi Minh the Bin Thay market is a cavernous labyrinth of stalls. It’s not a tourist market, it’s mainly wholesale and all geared towards other traders.

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Ladybird cycle helmets are a cute safety must while dried mushroom and spices spill out in all directions.

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Can Tho riverside markets are a riotous romp of activity, food is so fresh it scuttles out of the baskets after you!

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Rows of conical hatted women chatter as they haggle with tough customers.

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Zingy citrus fruits make your mouth water while tiny mushrooms are weighed up for a punter.

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New and untested produce pique the interest but are not always as tasty as they first appear!

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Above these warty looking things could be Bitter Melon. Also known as Ampalaya or Balsom Pear. Alternatively they might be bitter gourds . .

Here are some tiny pink rambutan. The name comes from the Malay language word for rambut or “hair”, a reference to the numerous hairy protuberances of the fruit.

In Vietnam however it’s called chôm chôm (meaning “messy hair”) due to the spines covering the fruit’s skin

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From the vivid colours of the exotic looking (but rather bland tasting) dragon fruit to the bunches of lemon grass and other herbs it all makes our supermarkets look a little bit tame!!

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How the Italians do markets

My market odyssey continues during various trips throughout Italy.

The magical city of Florence has a wealth of impressive markets including the Central Market. Butchers, fishmongers and delis are on the main floor, while fruit and vegetable sellers are on the top floor,

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Colourful soaps in every colour and perfume beguile the grimy travellers while pasta comes in every shape and size.

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These stacks of crates are bursting at the seams with a tasty looking selection of fruit, veg and herbs.

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Strings of garlic adorn this rustic stall while herbs, goose grease and salad leaves offer us a ideal photo opp.

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Sieves, baskets and booze jostle for position on this compact and crowded little stall.

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Are you bored of piles of food yet? Tough! There’s SOOOOO many markety photos yet to show you  . . .  ho ho ho

 

More magical markets

Carrying on my pictorial romp though markets that I have known and loved!

These are a throwback from a trip to Southern France way back in 2009. From flavoured salts to olives and figs, there’s a host of delicacies on offer.

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These snaps are from the bustling Cours Saleya market in Nice which is at the heart of the Old Town.

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Cours Saleya hosts four different markets. The most well known is the Marché aux Fleurs, or Flower Market, held Tuesday through Sunday.

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Expensive mushrooms nestle on a bed of greenery while pretty tins full of sweets tempt the younger market goers.

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These little marzipan delights come in all shapes and sizes. Bananas, tomatoes, cherries and ladybirds – which ones tickle your fancy?

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A rainbow of soaps are available in every colour and shade. From juicy cherry to tangy lime, they make your mouth water and your nose twitch.

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Get yours in peach, violet, mimosa and rose amongst others.

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And if you want less perfume and more spice then there’s a veritable cornucopia of seasonings to chose from.

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Let’s end on this rather peculiar vegetable. A giant orange courgette!

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Colourful markets

While I wait for the next jaunt I’m filling in the time with some collections of some of my favourite photos from the past few years.

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Along with peeling paint and endless buildings I also have  HUGE fascination for markets, food, textiles, herbs, spices, kitchen utensils – you name it, I love to snap it.

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No matter where in the world I’ve been, whether Thailand, Italy, Greece or Hong Kong, I always seem to gravitate towards them.

Here’s just a few of the many many colourful market memories from recent trips.

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The mobile crisp cart plies its trade in Sadar Market in Jodhpur while an onion seller poses in Pushkar and a colourful sari clad woman waits for customers.

This collection are all from our fantastic trip to India back in 2010. Travelling from Delhi, across Rajasthan and ending in balmy Kerela.

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Under the sweltering sun this pair of street sellers in Pushkar display a wealth of luscious produce for the passing crowds.

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A customer haggles for the best possible prices in the Clock Tower market – women often seem to drive the hardest bargains!

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This thoughtful woman was sat in the middle of the hectic Clock Tower / Sadar Market in Jodphur. She’s an oasis of calm amongst a whirl of humanity.

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Meanwhile the back streets are crammed full of family run stalls that are stacked high with packages, boxes, bags and tubs of snacks.

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This rather sombre looking stall holder stands guard behind a colourful, neatly stacked selection of goodies in the blue city.

These mobile veg sellers stroll along the pavements of Jaipur offering a tantilising array of gorgeous vegetables. Even the smallest of stalls is immaculately set out, its wares perfectly arranged as if in a high class shop window.

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Finally I get caught out snapping these ladies with their perfectly stacked baskets of vegetables.

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More Mostar markets!

Before we headed back to Croatia, we had time to mooch around some more of the picturesque little stalls that line the main cobbled street of Mostar.

From colourful slippers to beaten copper work, tiny traditionally attired dolls to artwork, there’s almost too much to take in.

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Colourful wooden instruments make interesting (and custom friendly) souvenirs!

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Copper wear, sumptuous fabrics and cute little tea sets are also displayed to attract the magpie eyes of the tourist.

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The plethora of textiles make me salivate slightly . . .so many cushion covers that could be made from them.

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Everywhere you look there’s a riot of colour, pattern and texture to delight the snap happy and trinket gatherer! (Both of which I happen to be)

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We also stuck our heads inside the courtyard of a traditional Moorish home, but, as we’d no cash for the entrance fee, we didn’t venture further!

Here’s some carpets instead . . .

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Finally a few  more bridge snaps. (I really need to find a blog template that arranges pictures better!!!!!)

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Here’s me attempting to strike a pose . . weirdly I look like I have one HUGE hand and one freakishly tiny one.

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Marvellous Mostar

Mostar is a city in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina situated on the Neretva River. Its quaint cobbled streets are lined with colourful stalls and converge on the main focal point of the town, the (newly restored) old bridge.

From multicoloured scarves, bags and wallets, wooden instruments to shiny copper jugs, the bazaars are a cornucopia of consumables.

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One of the most unusual souvenirs to be found all over the town are carved shell cases and bullets, left over from the bombardment of the town in the 1990s.

The purchase of one such object lead to my first ever confiscation at airport security . . .

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The scenery is spectacular with mountains stretching into the background, colourful flags flutter in the warm breeze while bullet scarred buildings still nod to the war torn past.

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It feels a little like we’ve stepped back in time as we pass old men beating pattern’s into ornate metal work and laughter lined women offer us fragrant teas and pastries as we pass.

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Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (natively: mostari) who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva.

The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most recognizable landmarks, and is considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans

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The original bridge over the Neretva River stood for 427 years before it was destroyed during the Bosnian war in November 1993.

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In the summer months young men perch at the edge of the bridge and wait for enough coins to perform breath taking plunges into the river below. It’s about 24 metres from the bridge to the water.

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Even in October a single solitary man waits, ever hopeful of a few coins in return for a perfectly poised decent.

(Note this man in is not waiting to dive . . )

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Portabello Road

One of my favourite places in London is the hectic, bustling Portabello Road and its markets.

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From antiques to food, vintage fashion to costume jewelry, it’s another shopping (and happy snappers) delight.

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Whether you’re after a refreshing drink of coconut water, some eye wateringly pricey fungi or just fancy indulging in a little pastry heaven, you’re bound to find it in this crowded, sprawling shoppers paradise.

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I was a woman on a mission, after some hand carved wooden print blocks to display in my printer’s case. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t get totally sidetracked by other shiny lovely (tasty)things!

This time it included my FIRST EVER taste of a macaroon (lemon) – gorgeous (fitted in my mouth whole) – amazing!

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And the discovery of a side shop stacked high with door knobs *quivers with excitement*

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There’s hand knitted Rastafarian hats, hot hot chillies and every conceivable trimming, feather and sequin on the haberdashery stall.

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Not to mention Paella, continental cakies and quiches. My stomach is grumbling just thinking about it. (Salivating as I type).

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