La Boqueria Market, as well as being somewhere you can buy amazing Spanish food, is one of Barcelona‘s most popular tourist attractions.
According to the market’s website (yeah, that’s how famous it is)….
At the Boqueria people eat, shop and gossip together doing what the Spanish excel at, living life well and enjoying a sense of community.
The fruit is so fresh and good value – especially compared to the outrageous London prices. A whole punnet of organic strawberries costs around 1 euro, and the best thing of all is the fresh juice. You can find almost any flavour under the sun – my favourite being coconut and banana. They mix exotic fruits like papaya and mango, and the juices only cost 1 euro 50 for a big serving. It’s possible to spend all day at the market sampling the local food and gawping at the watermelons the size of two basketballs – but it’s best to get there as early as possible before the tourists arrive en masse.
If you’re ever bored in London – which is basically an oxymoron anyway – go to Camden Market. It’s probably one of the coolest, craziest and most interesting places in the city. Contrary to popular belief (actually I don’t know what the popular belief is) Camden Market is not all goth clothes and piercing studios. Apart from the fake designer (sorry, you’re not fooling anybody) handbags and Union Jack print sunglasses, there’s actually a ton of really nice, cheap and often handmade jewelry on sale in the crafts part of the market. It’s also a good place to get unique ornaments and stuff like vintage posters and Beatles records. My favourite part of the whole place is, of course, the food. Outside by Camden Lock, there are a bunch of food stands where you can get more or less any cuisine you want. There’s often a paella stall, a Jamaican curry stall, an Indian stall, a Chinese stall, crepes and waffles… Extremely popular with foreign teenagers on school trips, Camden Market is just as much fun for those of us who live here, and even if you don’t buy anything, it’s still fun to go and have a look around. If you have time, go to Cyberdog, which is probably one of the weirdest places I have ever been in my life. It’s like walking into an alternate universe with music so loud you can’t hear the person next to you speak, and ‘dancers’ dressed in silver covered in neon paint ‘dancing’ in cage things attached to the walls…..
Hi! My name is Paulina Czarnecki, and I’m a teenager from Poland living in the United States. I blog at www.paulinaczarnecki.wordpress.com and I’m honored to be guest posting on the Europhiles today!
I was asked to write a blog post about Polish traditions around this time of year. I’m going to talk about St. Dominic’s Fair that takes place in the last couple of weeks of July in my favorite Polish city of Gdańsk.
My father is from Gdańsk, which is a large city in the north of Poland, on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Every year in July, the streets of the Old Town (Stare Miasto) are lined with stands. The vendors sell food, drinks, jewelry, antiques, clothes, art, and other specialized crafts. Best of all, everything is fairly inexpensive: I bought many a pair of beautiful earrings for as little as 5 złoty (less than $2) when I went this summer.
Gdańsk has a wonderful atmosphere even when nothing special is happening. The Old Town is a complex of old-fashioned townhouses, beautifully restored after World War II. No cars are allowed on the cobbled streets, only pedestrians. If you think this is a tourist trap, think again! Walking is much more common in Europe and the cities than in America (where I live), and tourists and the people that make their home in the city alike are found in the crowds during the Dominican Fair.
When you go to the fair, you never run out of things to look at. Each kiosk has unique, original artwork and jewelry to look at. I spent over $100 dollars during the festival, mostly on earrings and bracelets! You can also buy lots of delicious food: ice cream, bread, cold cuts, hot dishes, etc. etc.
If you ever get the chance to be in Poland over the summer, take it! We had a lot of tourists thanks to the Euro (European soccer cup), and Poland got nothing but good reviews. St. Dominic’s Fair is an amazing festival for anyone interested in any type of art or shopping.
I hope you found my blog post interesting! Thanks again for having me on the Europhiles, and be sure to check out my personal blog at www.paulinaczarnecki.wordpress.com.
Borough market, by the river in London, is a firm favorite with foodies and sells really good quality produce ranging from Spanish jamon to cheeses, wine, homemade cakes and desserts. Sadly, it’s also really expensive. But don’t worry: here’s the great part (that the tourists don’t know about (yet…)). Every stall offers tasters! Not just tiny ones either – the brownie tasters are about half the size of a full one anyway… And if you’re sneaky, it’s easy to eat a complete filling breakfast just from snacking on tasters (obviously totally free!!). Walk through first so you can plan a good route – taking in the ham, fresh warm bread, fruit and juice…
Failing that, there’s also a great Spanish place, Brindisa, that does breakfast, but 1. That’s not free, and 2. It’s way more fun to do it the local way!
( both photos via flickr.com)
My favourite thing about Madrid is the San Miguel Market, next to Plaza Mayor, in the oldest part of the city. The origins of the market date to the XIX century. Basically as soon as you get in, you’re hit by this amazing crazy atmosphere, mostly from the buzzing tourists taking photos and haggling prices. The food is quite wonderful/weird; there’s everything you could possibly hope for, ranging from small baguette-like slices of bruschetta, crazy scary fish, then traditional Spanish foods like serrano ham, gambas, pastries and mini burgers. The whole place is rather amazing, and very Spanish.
In the hot weather it’s really refreshing and relaxing to sit on one of the benches by a food counter with an ice cool drink just watching Spanish life and different people. It was originally the most prestigious food market in Madrid, but now with the ever increasing number of supermarkets in the area, it has become more of a tourist attraction, however it is still used for lunch time snacks and as a fresh butcher and fish mongers.