Markets are one of my favourite things about travelling, they are exciting, bustling and unique in each country. I rarely have the patience for shopping centres that are identical to every one in London. But I can spend hours in a huge maze of handmade gifts and fresh food. I’m sorry to say there weren’t many photos because sometimes I need to just live in my moments and get swept up in the exploration.
While in Moldova I decided to go to Chisinau’s largest market Piata Centrala. So I was up at 7am, with an empty backpack I adventured off to find some treasures. Upon arrival I was already consumed by sights and smells from all directions. It was an enormous labyrinth of stalls, no direction the wrong way. I went deeper into the chaos and found the weird and the wonderful. I could list pages on what was on offer and not even scratch the surface. My personal favourite was a man selling only chainsaws and kiwis; a classic combination.
With most of the market being open air, I was intrigued by a large closed off building smack dab in the middle. Curiosity won, so I went inside and instantly I saw before me every organ, limb and decapitated head of many an animal. I think my grandfather, who was an Arizonan cattleman and enthusiastic whole animal eater, would have been proud that although surprised, I didn’t flinch once. Clearly I had located the butcher area for the fresh meat of the day. I may not have purchased any of the pig heads that were eyeing me up but it was certainly an experience and sensory rollercoaster. I’m sure a couple readers will be happy to know that photos were not allowed in this particular area.
My main focus for the trip was to acquire some fresh ingredients to make a mushroom risotto for me and my new hostel friends. I had acquired the most beautifully fresh mushrooms and all ingredients but the essential – delicious cheese. Just as I was about to give up I turned the corner and cheese heaven was achieved. Despite an enthusiastic woman force feeding me a block of butter, it was a success and I acquired everything I needed.
Finally I went for my traditional browse where my eyes and my stomach choose the prize. I got fresh eggs, ruby red strawberries and a slice of cake. Everything needed to celebrate conquering another market.