We pick up our uncle early Sunday morning, and we all pile into the car and head to Padrón, in western Galicia, just outside of Santiago de Compostela, for the feria.
Padrón is part of the Camino de Santiago and the town is known for their sometimes spicy peppers, which are sold in just about every bar in Galicia as tapas, as well as a one-time preaching place for Saint James, the apostle.
For two Euros, you can park in a nearby lot and explore the best that Padrón has to offer. Get ready to bargain...vendors are spirited. It is loud and crowded, but it's an experience you won't soon forget.
You can get almost anything at the feria. It is farmers' market meets flea market. You can get locally caught fresh and salted fish. You can buy sausages and hams. There are empanadas and unlabeled wine sold via word of mouth. There are clothes and tools, shoes and electronics. Some markets have animals for sale and you can almost always find puppies and kittens alongside hens, ducks, and, in some markets, pigs.
When we go to Padrón, we start on one end of the market with a coffee con leche and a quick glance of the local paper. My uncle and husband buy lottery tickets and then we are ready to explore.
Our next stop is for churros...
And then we meander.
The feria is a meeting place. No doubt, you will see someone you know. There are grandparents and grandchildren, families and couples, tourists and locals, all meandering the paths of the marketplace in search of bargains and socializing.
Salt cod, or bacalao, is a staple in Spain.
Local cheese and local honey.
For when you miss the baker's arrival in your neighborhood
And ham, ham everywhere...
When we have marketed ourselves out, it is off to the pulperia for a treat that my husband waits for all year...pulpo á la feria.
Here, the octopus is boiled in water and red wine and then it is served on a wooden plate with olive oil, sea salt and Spanish pimentón.
If pulpo's not your thing (and it's not mine), there's grilled meat, or churrasco, to feed your hunger.
With pimentos Padrón and the best bread in the world.
Our days at the market are a tradition that I have come to treasure. And sharing it with family makes it all the better.
Where are your favorite markets to explore? Where is the best market place you have explored?