We went out this morning to see if we could find one of the street markets that set up each day of the week in a different neighborhood of Valencia. I stopped a couple of women out with their rolling shopping carts and asked for guidance. They gave me clear and enthusiastic directions, assuring me that if I just turned at the light and went “recto, recto” (with adamant gestures) and then turned right “al fin,” I would find the market. So away we went, recto, recto.
After six or seven blocks and a right turn, we saw the first awnings and tables, filled, predictably, with lots of ladies’ underwear. Next we came to shoes and slippers, jewelry, sunglasses, scarves, leggings, houseplants, piles of fabric, seat cushions, much more underwear, kitchen gadgets, wallets, smartphone cases, toddler t-shirts emblazoned with Guns & Roses logos, bandanas.
In the neighborhood we lived in last year, the Friday street market was not quite 2 blocks long, but this one went on for a very long distance, branching out at intersections and spreading down several side streets. There was a great deal of territory to take in, but strangely, not as much variety as you might think.
Some of the wares were covered in plastic, as the forecast was for rain, and we’d already felt several drops. As more rain began to fall, the going got a little more difficult, with umbrellas bobbing and leaning to avoid one another as well as the heads of the umbrella-less, a two-way shuffle between piles of inexpensive everything.
We finally made it to the end of the market, where we found a table spread with an abundance of women’s sweaters, and a placard that read 2/1,50 € (exchange rate being what it is these days, that’s maybe 85 cents per sweater). The woman in charge approached me and began talking up the sweaters; I inquired about the sign, and she said sure, and for me, since I’m so pretty, 3 for 1,50 €, so I’d be sure to have a great day.
As much as I love a good sweater, I couldn’t summon the gumption to hold any of them up and form an opinion (I know, you shopping pros out there must be disappointed that I’ve let you down). We headed off down a side street, and not 20 seconds later passed a woman who handed me a leaflet:
I had a 10 € bill in my pocket, and it struck me as curious that I could either exchange it for more than a dozen sweaters, or hope that it would be enough to pay for a bath for my dog, if I had one. El Guapo suggested putting a lot of sweaters on the dog instead of springing for the bath, and the fact that such a thing didn’t make any sense was okay, given the dog’s non-existence. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little weird about money, and this sort of loose relationship between price and worth is probably one of the reasons why.
In the end, the 10 € went toward a selection of European chocolate (not found at the street market) that I’ll be packing to take back to share with Ninja and Loquita. I got to come to Spain for a romantic interlude, and they got to stay home and shovel another foot or more of snow, and deal with leaks in the walls due to ice dams. As I share chocolate with them, I’m sure they will have saved some of the dealing-with-leaks for me, and that’s as it should be.