Blog by Danny.
One half of an English couple who traded the Oceans - he is a boat Captain, whilst his wife is a professional mermaid (no honestly), for a cave house in rural Inland Andalucia.
Find out more about them on their blog at www.onefootinthecave.com
There are many things I love about our newly adopted home of Spain and the list is growing. My favourite though, without doubt are Spanish street markets. This is probably just as well, because in Spain every day is market day.
In our area of Andalucia, I could go to a different market each and every day; from the smallest village with a couple of stalls in a single side street; through to the principal town of Baza, where the market truly is king for the day.
Living on the outskirts of Baza means that for us, Wednesday is our market day. It's a true cultural experience and one that awakens all 5 of my senses, whilst also being kind on the wallet !
My sight guides me from stall to stall, taking in the variety of things for sale. Besides clothing (and what a variety), they offer fruit and vegetables, antiques (real and fake), furniture, music, flowers, plants and trees, ironmongers and things you didn't even realise you need until you get them back home.
I love to people watch and not just the shoppers and salesman, but the old men passing the time of day on the wooden benches or the laid back police keeping an eye on the proceedings and chasing off the odd bootlegger of CD's and DVD's,
My hearing attempts to catch and understand the shouts and cries of the stall holders with the hope of improving my fledgling Spanish. To me the stall holders are both salesmen (and women) and entertainers alike, trying to entice you in with their wares.
My sense of smell, Oh ! how it taunts me. Without fail it always leads me to the 'pollos asados' wagon, where to date I have not failed to hand over 8 euros in exchange for the most succulent chicken I have ever tasted.
My taste buds are spoiled rotten as I sample the various wares on offer, an olive here, a sliver of cheese there and maybe just that little piece of jamon ... its like tapas on the go.
And finally my touch. To be able to simply pick up and select your fruit and vegetables, most of which are gnarly and unique in size and shape is still a wonder to me. After all, I come from the generation of sterile supermarkets, selling homogenous sized and shaped pre-packed fruits and vegetables. I don't mind that the choice is less and that it is often seasonal, for me that's the joy - to be able to buy local, fresh produce without packaging. On my last visit I had never intended to buy oranges, but there they were - grown not an hour from us and picked so recently that they still have fresh green leaves attached. Who could resist ?
But for me market day is much more than just the market ... it's an opportunity to give my custom to the local shops that surround the market - the panaderia, the carniceria, the pescadero; small family run shops that have sadly become something of a novelty back in the UK.
And after a hard mornings shopping there is nothing better than retiring to the nearest bar to watch the hustle and bustle of the market over caña (or two) of Cruz Campo, complemented by the tasty tapas that accompanies it.
Now with the shopping done and my thirst quenched, all I have to do is head home and load up my freshly baked bread with juicy chunks of pollo asado.