Advantages Amazing range of fresh produce, cheap prices, chance to practice Spanish
Hungry and grumpy we were delighted when we re-read our guide book to find that this amazing market was less than 5 minutes walk away, and opened at 8 the next morning. Surrendering our night in to the wilder and far more noisy atmosphere of La Rambla, we decided to make the market our first stop the next day, and I am soooo glad that we did.Firstly this place is huge! There are various other markets in the various areas of Barcelona (including one set up specially for Brits apparently), but this one by far exceeds anything I have seen there or elsewhere.
Open from roughly 8 in the morning until late (depending on when most of the produce is sold, earlier than normal on Sundays), it is full of stalls selling fresh produce, from fruit and vegetables, to meat, fish and cheese.The fresh fish market (a small number of stalls at the very centre)is particularly amazing, although I have to admit that our lack of Spanish let us down a little here! Proudly buying what I thought were sardines I later cooked a wonderful meal of what turned out to be the most salty of anchovies (or very similar), not quite what I had had in mind!
My best buy? A kilo of strawberries for 50 cents! Bargain!There are also small shops within the market selling sundries such as herbs, spices, toilet rolls - and more importantly lots of wine and sangria! There is also, towards the back of the market, a really great coffee seller - the woman who was there that morning spoke little English and we VERY little Spainsh, but we were able to taste and smell all the different beans and coffee that she had and so make a decision - she really made our morning - and the fresh coffee we had for the rest of week really made our holiday!
The language barrier did not seem to be too much of a problem. Armed with our phrasebook we were able to buy most things without making too much of a fool of ourselves, and found many people as eager to practice their English on us as we were to practice our Spanish - even when the language was an issue the majority of people were very patient with us , and very friendly and helpful.I would recommend a trip here to anybody, even if you are not staying self-catering - just a walk through the market is a great experience - but if you are cooking for yourself this is a great place to stock up the fridge, and for incredibaly reasonable prices, much more enjoyable than the large supermarket further up the road with it's long queues and grumpy tourists!
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