Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

From Fish Stalls to Fiestas

Our Sepia Saturday photo prompt this week is the interior of a grocery store. I have covered this exhaustively in 'Open All Hours', one of my favourite blog posts, which was also published in the Nottingham Post's 'Bygones' magazine. New readers may like to skip back there to see my nonchalant great grandfather leaning on the doorpost of his grocery shop and read about my family of shopkeepers.

So, today I thought you may like to hear about shopping old-style here in Lanzarote; more particularly the markets. The Recova Market is situated in Arrecife, the island's capital, close to the City Hall. The market we visit today is the modern one which replaced the original, established in 1871. When the first Recova opened, investors and traders were photographed for posterity, and years later those images were reproduced on the walls of the shady walkways leading to the new market. The information, in three languages, doesn't tell us a great deal about their identities but two of them are thought to be the father and grandfather of the famous artist César Manrique, the architect of the island, about whom I have written in previous posts. Here his father is wearing the white trousers and riding a donkey and with the grandfather to his left.


In 1874 the town hall expressed its gratitude to the fishing and urban industries of the city by naming the street Calle Vargas in honour of the original owner of the building, and fixing a memorial plaque on the facade of the market entrance.

The market had three entrances and three galleries with eight openings which faced onto a central courtyard, with three water tanks and a pump for seawater. Another courtyard had a manger, slaughterhouse, graze room, tool room and lavatory. There was also a room for the selling of meat with two rooms either side of it as well as four 'lonjas' - fish markets and grocers' shops. The establishment boasted tools such as heavy duty scales and a set of weights.


Several dignitaries and clerics were photographed on camels and in the above picture you can see the seats which are still used today by the camels who take eager tourists along the Timanfaya trail.


This is how the market would have looked when it was busy and bustling, although I think this picture belongs to the twentieth century judging by the length of the skirts. The lady in the foreground is wearing a typical Canarian hat, still used by the workers in the fields, very necessary and extremely practical.

The market was closed for more than twenty years and recently re-opened as an artisan market with a café. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you what trade is being plied in the picture below.


On the morning of our visit most of the stallholders had not yet opened for business, but this lady was keeping an eye on the café. This link will take you to more colourful pictures of the market.


On one of the busy shopping streets of Arrecife there is a haven of peace and calm to where we like to escape the busy shopping streets for a cup of coffee. Built in the tradition Canarian manner around a central courtyard, the stalls and booths for small shops are all around, both on the ground floor and on the upper storey.



For our fresh fruit and vegetables we like to visit the traditional farmers' market at Mancha Blanca in the North of the island.






Figs are coming to the end of their season just now and these can be bought at the farmers' market, along with fig jam, a preserve which is eaten with traditional Canarian cheeses. The outdoor market at Mancha Blanca has permanent booths for the farmers to set up shop, this is a modern version of the one we would have seen at the old Recova market in Arrecife. This weekend it's the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores. The island's patron saint is celebrated and the point is marked where the flow of lava from the last volcanic eruptions in 1824 came to a halt just outside the village of Mancha Blanca. People often walk on foot from all over the island as part of the pilgrimage and huge crowds, mostly in Canarian dress, converge on the village. There will be markets, food stalls, timple music, singing and dancing and the sun will be shining.


If you haven't done the weekend shopping yet you can take your pick from the wonderful store that is Sepia Saturday.

19 comments:

  1. I love history and this is wonderful...and still there.

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  2. Hello Marilyn:
    This really is a most wonderful shopping experience. Markets such as you depict and write about here are, we feel, the very essence of life and we fail to understand the way in which so many people today are addicted to supermarkets.

    We have much enjoyed this post together with the links which you have provided.

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  3. Personally, I am glad I used that archive image as a prompt because it led to this post and so many memories of a visit which seems such a long time ago, but, in reality, is only a few months. There is something about those first two photos which are so Lanzarote.

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  4. Isn't the shopping experience different in countries where it's warm. I Haven't been to see Arrecife but I have been on a camel on the Timanfaya trail. Great links too.

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  5. Well I'm wishing I was there this weekend. Looks to be a grand place!

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  6. What can I say? Are you in the business of making us jealous? If so, I must say you are very successful! By the way, I had no idea a camel could carry so much weight (3 grownup men) and probably more cause it did not make a "burdened" impression. I'm sure Señora de los Dolores will see to it that you will have a very nice weekend. I enjoyed reading this post.

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  7. This is so cool! What neat places to shop, grab a cup of coffee and get your fruits and veggies. I loved the old pictures too; you live in such an interesting area, Nell.

    Kathy M.

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  8. I like seeing both the old and the new marketplace. That's the kind of shopping I enjoy, not the huge mega-malls.

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  9. I've learned a lot about Lanzarote by reading your posts!

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  10. His boots were made for walking, until they fell apart and needed repair! Very funny! What a lovely shopping excursion! I like the old and new views too. I also think that statue on the sidewalk is very striking (Arrecife) Again you have offered us a fresh look at shops and shopping and rebirth of a shop!

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  11. Thanks for this. If I ever get over my ridiculous fear of flying, Lanzarote will be at the top of my list for places to visit. Your posts remind me why I loved it so much.

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  12. Markets are everywhere, worldwide, but they are all different. I enjoyed your post!

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  13. I'm so glad I stumbled upon Sepia Saturday a few months ago. I never know what surprising journey is in store. Thoroughly enjoyed this!

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  14. Wow, thanks very much for sharing these photos and remarks. I don't know anything about Lanzarote, but now I know I need to know much more!

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  15. I simply love this sculpture in the center of the place. I'm not big on shopping, even if my credit bills might say otherwise... but you've made this an enjoyable journey.
    Thanks!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  16. A great post on the small things that make some places special. Markets are the definition of Mediterranean (or Atlantic in your case) shopping.

    But what I want to know is how do the two outside passengers get off that camel? Wouldn't they need to hop down at the same time? Otherwise the camel would tip over!

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  17. Thanks so much for the market tour. Usually when an old wonderful market place is replaced by a new one, it's not a pretty picture. But this new one is absolutely beautiful. Would love to be able to sit and have a cup of coffee there and watch the world go by.
    Nancy

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  18. Queen Bee from Bees Knees Daily is still having trouble commenting on my blog so I need to investigate ways round that. In the meantime here is her kind comment.

    Enjoyed seeing the contrast of the old and new photos of the market. You live in such a beautiful place! I like the Canarian hat, it would be great to wear at the beach or when working outdoors.

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  19. Another great post, reminds me I need to get some fig jam!

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