It was a late Friday morning when I finally made the visit. Walking away from the underground, I crossed the busy street. A shadow loomed and pulled me into its darkness under the bridge where the strong smell of damp stone permeated with rain, oil and city secrets filled my nostrils and put an earthy, metallic taste in my mouth. Emerging into a lazy, dawdling sunlight, the church peered down at me and a murmuring sound began to rise as I drew closer to the market and as I took three small steps down, the sight of a large wok brimming with sausages and tomatoes greeted me, as did the bright smile of the vendor. Passing through the narrow passage, cheery voices called out like small hands reaching to snatch my attention. Bodies moved in a long stream until the market opened up into a yard filled with tables and stalls. Cakes, ceramics, cheeses and a counter bursting with empanadas*- I bid a shy "Buenos dias" to the gent in charge. I wonder if he knew how much I missed Spain?
I made my way through the maze of treats, sampling a small piece of warm chocolate brownie on the way. Under another part of the old bridge, I found vibrant colours and displays of this year's wonderful harvest.
Mushrooms from the forests peppered with bunches of fragrant herbs
Plump tomatoes of all shapes and colours
And long, slender chilies
I wandered for what must have been a while and paused to sadly stroke a rabbit, strung up by his feet, his life exhaled and long gone. In the distance, I could see a shrouded alley way with a long hiss of steam emerging from its centre. When the steam cleared, my favourite sight of the autumn came into view...
Funny pumpkins and gords. As if they had stolen all the autumnal colour and kept it for themselves.
I decided there and then that I love nothing more than a market. Perhaps, when I have a little more than nothing in my purse, I shall travel far and wide to all the markets of the world and fill my memories with sounds, shapes and smells so wonderful that when I close my eyes, I will remember them all with glee.