Barcelona’s Market

Entrance to Barcelona's Boquería Market

This first picture shows the stalls in the entranceway to the Mercat de la Boquería, the Barcelona central market that is just off the Rambles. It’s an incredible place, full of every kind of fruit, meat, fish, or whatever you might happen to need. It took me a long time to get up the nerve to actually take a picture there. You might say I’m kind of a chicken, but since I lived there, it was just sort of strange. Do you take pictures of your supermarket?

Fruit Stacked High at the Barcelona Market

I love how they stack up the fruit and vegetables. I’m always tempted to take a lemon out of the bottom row, but of course, you’re not supposed to touch them at all. Which I guess makes sense. Sort of. Ok, so you’re at the market and there are ten thousand other people milling around. Once in a while they have those number machines, where you take a number and know your place. But usually, you ask the people around you “Who’s Last?” which is an ingenious method. Someone says “Me” and instantly they're not anymore and you are, and you know who you’re after and your big responsibility now is to answer the next person when they ask “Who’s Last?”. Nobody pushes, nobody cuts, you don't have to guard your territory.

The Fish Ladies in the Barcelona Market

The fish ladies hold a special place in the market’s heart, where the floors are wet and kind of slimy, the pervasive smell of fish floats in the air, and the cold chill from the ice makes you forget the sunny day you left outside. Unless they’re helping someone else, the fish ladies (fish women just doesn’t fit) can be quite intimidating. I’ve often wondered why fish ladies are so much more aggressive than say, the fruit sellers, or rabbit hawkers. Perhaps it is the urgency of their produce. If they don’t sell it today, they’ll smell it tomorrow. (Sorry.) You can see her leaning out, looking for possible victims, that is, clients. Look once in her direction and she’ll be planning your supper. And it’ll be delicious.

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Catalan version (En català)