Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

La Bouqueria on Las Ramblas – Barcelona’s Amazing Market


2011
06.05

Food, glorious food; hot sausages and mustard…may I edit that line from the musical Oliver to say Food, glorious food, La Bouqueria in Barca? It is a huge market that packs sensory overload like you’ve never experienced.  The exterior gives no clue as to what is inside.

La Bouqueria

Of course I took way too many photos so I’ll just give a sampling here.  No narrative necessary, except to say that if my husband weren’t sick back in the hotel room, I would have spent twice the time and taken three times the photos.

Vegetables in La Bouqueria

Olives La Bouqueria

Ham in La Bouqueria

Delicious, fresh juice in La Bouqueria

Fruit snacks in La Bouqueira

Fresh fish, La Bouqueria

Eggs and more eggs, La Bouqueira

Dried fruits, La Bouqueria

Herbs La Bouqueria

Spices, La Bouqueria

Cheeeese in La Bouqueira

Bread

Chocolates and sweets, La Bouqueria

All the ingredients for a wonderful meal right here – cheese, bread, ham – especially Iberica de Pellota – fruit, olives and more, topped off with a bit of chocolate – why would you ever need to shop anywhere else?  This would be my Trader Joes of Barcelona – e.g., no need to go anywhere else.

The Road to Morocco: Marrakech, Part One


2011
04.14

Saturday, March 5, 2011

We took the train to Marrakech this morning.  Barely. I thought we’d be at the station one hour early but we were there barely in time.  Another “Venice” moment, which refers to the time I got up in the middle of the night in Venice, didn’t look outside because I didn’t want to wake my husband by opening the shutters, so checked the time on my computer, got dressed and went to the lobby until Mark was up.  As I blithely said good morning to the desk clerk, I wondered why no one was setting out breakfast. I also wondered why he looked at me like I was insane until I realized my computer was still on California time and so was I.  So this morning, my phone was on daylight savings time but we were not; thus my one-hour cushion was considerably shortened.

Casablanca Train Station

We sat in a train compartment for three plus hours with four Moroccan women.  I think the compartment (we went second class) is just what the compartments on the Hogwarts Express would look like. We did our best to converse but we shared virtually no words in common until a little child walked by and waved, after which we all shared smiles – lots of smiles and nodding heads and the desire to communicate.  I showed the pictures. (see the previous post)

Off the train in the Marrakech station

Can’t tell you how nice it is to walk into an airport or train station and see someone holding up a sign with your name on it.  We found Ali, who drove us to Maison Do, our riad in the medina.   We found out we’re not the only visitors in Marrakech.  King Mohammed VI is here also to check out the progress of various projects.  Ali said that when King Hassan II (the current king’s father) visited, the roads had to be cleared an hour before and after his passage, but with Mohammed VI, he is a man of the people and just goes on through.  Ali lamented the fate of Libya with Ghadafi turning on his own people.  We did notice more police and security than usual since the king is in town, but it certainly was not overwhelming.  The king is staying in a residence and not the royal palace.

How Ali maneuvered his car into the medina is a small miracle.  Besides narrow streets, people, bicycles, and donkeys, there are dozens of motorbikes zooming by.

Donkey cart in Medina

Somehow, everyone manages to squeeze through without incident.  Even Ali, however, couldn’t get the car into the small lane the riad was in.

The street our riad is on.

The front door to Maison Do

A riad is a traditional residence organized around a courtyard planted with trees and flowers, and you can look at Maison Do on this site: http://www.maisondo.com/.  From inside, we can hear children playing in the evening and the call to prayer, which is broadcast throughout the city five times a day.  While the lanes of the medina look nondescript, behind the doors there are many gorgeous homes decorated with tile, colored lanterns, carved and decorated woodwork and plaster. The colors are bright and beautiful.

Lantern hanging over the courtyard

Tile in the riad, Maison Do

Our room looked like it was out of Arabian Nights.  Describing the room is best done with photos, but we liked it very much.

Entrance into our bathroom

We headed out into the medina intent on lunch.  I needed food – my margin of error this morning cut out breakfast.  I bought a sandwich on the train – really a roll with some cheese inside – but it didn’t do the trick. Yolande, the French owner of Maison Do, sent us off to Oscar Progres, a Moroccan restaurant on the other side of the medina.  When we found it we realized we were in a local establishment not much frequented by tourists.  It was hard to find and not on the common path.  Refreshed, we headed out into the madness.

Jemaa-el-Fna is the famous square in the Marrakech medina.  In fact, it’s a World Heritage Site.  It’s huge and filled with water sellers who no longer have a function other than posing with tourists, snake charmers who never did have any other function but entertainment, women sitting under umbrellas offering henna tattoos, and all manner of colorful characters.

Cobras in Jemma-el-Fna

The streets of the medina are where you want to linger looking at everyone’s wares, except that if you even slow down a little you’re beset by vendors who have great sales pitches and stick like leeches.  You can’t blame them; it’s their living. You have to develop a careless banter while you look, and marginally engage in conversation while you actually do what you want.  Today, it was tiring.  Tomorrow, we are braving it again to buy babouches from Mounir, someone we talked to quite a while today in his shop, and hands of Fatima, necklace charms that keep evil forces away.  Plus – we have a guide and he will run interference.  When you have limited time, a guide is the way to go.  Except you have to set the parameters ahead of time – because all the guides will want to take you into showrooms from which they will get a cut of the sale.

The fun for me is seeing all the food – spices, olives, fruit, oranges, everything colorful, arranged so beautifully.  Photos are a little tricky because many people still do not want to be photographed.

Dried fruit

Olives

Spices

Oranges

We found our way into the poultry market but we didn’t need chickens, turkeys, rabbits (not poultry, I know), ducks or eggs.

Poultry market

The egg stalls had literally thousands of eggs apiece from little blue mottled eggs to chicken eggs to giant (they seemed giant), duck eggs.

Thousands of eggs

We noticed that wherever meat was being sold, cleaned, or cut up, cats gathered.  Some are sad, scrawny creatures.

Cats waiting for a handout

A little kitten sits forlornly by a meat case.

On the other hand, we found a cat on the bed in our room that is gorgeous but a bit wild. Yolande, the French woman who owns Maison Do, rescued him from the medina.

The cat at Maison Do

We returned to Maison Do and took long naps.  Perhaps we are finally caught up on sleep.  We had dinner in the riad – taglne aux poulet avec citron et olives  (chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives, a tagine being a sort of stew) plus a huge plate of vegetables.  That made it feel just like home.  Sliced oranges with sugar and cinnamon for desert and of course mint tea.

Tomorrow we bargain and buy.