We made the rounds of street markets today. The La Vega market was by far the largest and operates every day. This is Jonathan’s favorite kind of market, food….
The passageways were very narrow and almost everyone pulls a half-filled shopping trolley behind them, or pushes a stroller, or a bicycle. My favorite was the barrel-chested, white haired man in bike shorts, striped jersey and helmet, earbuds in place, pushing his bike down the aisle–to buy eggs. I assume he knew how to get them home, but I wondered.
The La Vega market has every kind of shopper, as many men as women, both sellers and buyers.
After stocking up on fruit, vegetables, meat, dried fruit, peanuts, olives and pickles, we returned to stow all our shopping in the car, before going on to the next market.
The Franklin Market functions only on Sunday, and spreads down the sides of the streets, Franklin, Bio Bio and others, as well as in a number of roofed “gallerias” that consist of rows of stalls. i was interested in “antiguedades” which includes anything perceived as old. This turned out to be a broader group of things than I’d hoped, as it included lots of used books, plastic toys, and old hardware (Jonathan liked that). We realized that we chose the most crowded Sunday of the year (or one of them) because school starts tomorrow for most young Chileans and families were out to catch up on their school shopping, and their random shopping. It was a crush like the weekend before Christmas on a narrow sidewalk outside Best Buy. But there were bright spots:
The streets were jammed with cars, most of them not moving. After failing to find anything that we absolutely had to have, we walked until we found cars moving and a cab to go on to our next stop. LUNCH. We planned to go to a wine-tasting cafe and found it at the correct address, but closed. We took a break at a sidewalk restaurant, enjoying the Lastarria neighborhood, a pleasant mix of new and old. A few weekend market stalls cover a small plaza and we added a stop there to our stroll.
Our final shopping salvo was a short walk through a park and over a bridge to a small crafts market in an area called Bellavista. I believe we visited this market on our previous brief trip to Chile, and it was just what I was looking for, finding a silver ring set with Chilean lapis. After a bit of shopping we wrapped up our day, amazed to have gotten around the city to four different places.