When I first moved to Heraklion, coming from a vibrant culture of going to open markets where vegetables are sold in little makeshift stalls by vendors who source their fresh produce everyday from the wholesale market at the crack of dawn, I was sure the Cretans also had a fresh market for the weekends. I just didnt realise it would be at a walking distance from my house, under a large white marquee, with the clear blue Mediterranean sky above and the warm greeks smiles below.
Like all large scale open markets, this multi-dimensional centre houses everything under the sun from vegetables to cheap watches, hand-me-downs or second hand clothes and kitchen ware. I bought my trusted peeler from here for €1 and cloth for my curtains! But often times I just go to faff around and nod at all the stall owners shouting encouragingly at me to buy their stuff, while i just soak in the colors and the atmosphere.
It’s embarrassing to take pictures while shopping because I am so conscious about looking like such a tourist so I have honed the skill of standing around looking very contemplatively as I surreptitiously click away.
Often times the vegetables have been sourced from the garden of Jack and his beanstalk and I actually tried buying this massive cabbage, especially as I was totally intrigued by the seller insisting that I can stuff it up (cabbage rolls or gemista). Naturally the only thing I could imagine stuffing into that gigantic leaf was a small lamb and I am SO against eating baby lambs!!! As opposed to adult ones. Which I have no problems consuming. Sadly 😦
And then when you are fatigued with all the shopping and too tired to go home and cook all the lovely fresh grocery you bought, just tuck into a souvlaki at the local shops!
But finally, the generosity and warmth of the Greeks emanates everywhere. Never a weekend has gone by when I haven’t come back with freebies that the sellers offer me. But I return for the freshness, the good prices and above all, the colors!!!! 😀