I love markets. In any city I visit, I’ll make sure I’ll walk through one of the local markets. Even if I probably won’t buy anything, I just love walking through the local produce, the things people buy, the food.
Being a vegetarian, my choice is mostly limited. and as a tourist, buying a kilo of local vegetables won’t get me anything.
But the sights and sounds, the smells and colors are fascinating.
Sometimes, for example in tropical countries, I hardly have any words for the fruits and vegetables I saw.
In Valencia, my sister and me spent the morning in the Mercat Central, the Central market of the old town.
Housed in a beautiful building with an impressive iron roof structure, various domes and stained glass windows, the building is an early 20th century construction. It replaced the open air market that was held on this spot since the early 19th century.
Inside, some tourists, of course, but mostly Spanish families, grand mothers… doing their weekly groceries shopping. We just walked around for an hour or so, sniffing here and there.
We were especially impressed by the fish market, with all the live seafood up for purchase, lobsters, crabs, you name it.
In the end, we bought some local paella rice form the rice fields around Valencia, and some spices for the Valenican version of paella (mostly done with chicken and big chunky beans).
I was very tempted to buy a small paella pan, as I love rice.
Old as it may look, the local paella pan stand, catering mostly for tourists, was totally up-to-date and ready for the 21st century and sold induction capable paella pans. I hope my sister registered it as a possible birthday gift!
Further on we walked, through the old town and down to the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències. And walked right into another market on the way.
Mercado Colon as it was called, is one of the most beautiful art nouveau buildings of Valencia.
Built in 1914-16, the market encompasses a whole block in the street grid. It is open air to the sides, and has a beautiful metal skeleton.
Inside, it does no longer house a traditional market today, but rather a number of bars, restaurants and some shops selling food or flowers.
So it’s not your classic market, but the building is definitely worth a visit, and it was the perfect place for a little rest and some coffee, or tapas and drinks at night.