“Pic of the Week”, November 24, 2017: Dubai’s Perfume Souk

00 Perfume Souk

Dubai has a number of market districts, including a perfume souk.  It’s located in the Deira neighborhood, not far from the gold and spice souks.  Arab perfumes are not the light flowery affairs you find in European shops — here the scents are spicy and quite strong, and tend to linger.  Arabian perfumes are oil based so they may leave a stain when sprayed on clothes, so be careful when using them. 

Of course perfumes from around the world are also sold in Dubai’s perfume souk and many shops will even custom craft a scent if you ask,  but the local fragrances are a specialty.  As are the decorative jars the perfumes can be stored in.   The perfumes are reasonably …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A Visit to Dubai’s famous Gold Souk

Gold Souk 08

While the image most travelers have of Dubai is of shiny new skyscrapers piercing the desert air (a fair impression to be sure), you can still find places in the city which date to the time before the construction boom that transformed the region.  Most of these sites of older Dubai are in the Deira and Bur Dubai neighborhoods which straddle Dubai Creek, the region of the city first settled in the 19th century.  A variety of markets can be found here the most famous of which is the gold market (aka souk).

You’ll be welcomed by it’s wood lattice arcade proudly proclaiming, “Dubai: City of Gold”!  While it is not enclosed or air-conditioned, the market’s roof provides welcome shade and …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Spain

La Boqueria: Barcelona’s fabulous Food Market

01 La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

One of the finest food markets I’ve ever visited, and supposedly one of the best in the world, is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, usually just called “La Boqueria It’s one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist spots — so much so that group tours are no longer allowed inside.  You, the independent traveler, are welcome!  The market is just off the popular pedestrian mall, La Rambla, not far from Barcelona’s opera house. A iron gate frames your entrance to the very diverse and fresh selection of food items within.

The first mention of the Boqueria market dates to 1217, when tables were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. From December 1470, a pig market was …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Italy

Catania’s Fabulous Market

13-Catania-Fish-Market

 

Besides the sight of Mt. Etna looming not far away, perhaps the most famous landmark in Catania is its lively fish market, La Pescheria.  There’s more to the market than seafood, but I’ve never encountered a more diverse selection of fresh seafood anywhere.  And the operative word is fresh as much of the merchandise was still flopping and flipping about.  The fish mongers are a lively bunch, trying to entice everyone passing by to purchase their fish, which are said to be the best and/or cheapest in the market.

Given that it’s situated on the Gulf of Catania, it’s not surprising to find that seafood is so popular with the locals and a key ingredient in local cuisine.  You’ll find massive …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Spain

Barcelona’s Santa Catarina Market

13 Santa Caterina Market, Barcelona

Situated in the El Born region of Barcelona, close to the Picasso Museum, Santa Caterina is one of the finest markets in Barcelona.  Built on the ruins of an old monastery, the market opened in 1848.  The market was constructed on the former site of the convent of Santa Caterina (from which it derived its name).  It has served its working class neighborhood for more than 150 years.

Santa Caterina market has recently undergone modernization and extensive renovation, completed in 2005 (while preserving the old walls of the market).  This is most evident in its brightly colored wavy Modernista roof, which consists of 325,000 ceramic pieces in dozens of colors intended to be coordinated with the produce sold under it.  The …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Food / North America / Ontario

Ottawa’s Fabulous Byward Market

08-13 Byward Market 09-2016

As many of you know, I am great fans of visiting markets during my travels.  Besides the beautiful assortment of food and goods, markets are a wonderful place to watch people and relax with coffee and a tasty fresh snack.   On a cold winter’s day, it’s often good to see the fresh bounty of summer (or in the case of our visit, fall).

Byward Market is a well known and long established market in Canada’s national capital, Ottawa.  The market was begun in 1826 by John By, who gained fame as builder of the Rideau Canal.  Mr. By laid out the street plan of the market, creating extra wide streets to facilitate the market as a gathering place for the area’s …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / Food / North America

Vail Farmer’s Market

04 Vail’s Farmers Market (32)

During the summer months there’s a nice Farmers’ Market in Vail every Sunday.  It’s situated on the north side of Gore Creek, on Meadow Drive, in close proximity to the town’s large parking structure.  It compliments the nearby Minturn Market which is held on Saturday and many of the vendors from that smaller but more compact Minturn Market also show up at Vail.

The Vail market is, at least to my impression, significantly larger than the Minturn Market, although not its not as compact and fun to navigate.  It features seasonal produce which mostly is grown in eastern and western Colorado.  Not too much food is grown at the high elevation of Vail which sits at around 8200 …

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.All Trips / Asia / Food / India

A visit to Delhi’s Subyard-Okhla Market

37 Subyard-Okhla Market, Delhi

Most of the inhabitants of our planet have very different shopping patterns from those living in the developed countries.  They do not buy their groceries at Safeway, Costco or Tesco, but at local markets in their neighborhoods.  Sometimes these markets have a series of small shops but often they are open air markets like the one I recently visited in Delhi.

There are dozens of vendors at some of the larger food markets in India, most with a unique product or small series of products (for example, the “onion and garlic” or “apple and orange” vendor, and so on).   Sometimes you’ll find four or five vendors side-by-side selling exactly the same fruit or vegetable for exactly the same price.  How does …

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