I love Sunday mornings! No lie in for me: no lazing around in my dressing gown drinking tea. Oh no! Sunday morning means only one thing – it's Lemon Tree Market Day.
Originally from the U.K. and now living in Playa Flamenca, Orihuela Costa, Southern Spain, my husband and I love to shop at the outdoor street markets. We could visit a different one every day if we wished, but we prefer to buy our weekly fruit and vegetables from the Sunday Market at Guardamar. This is probably the largest outdoor market in the area.
You can buy anything there as well as fruit and vegetables – shoes, clothes (including underwear), curtains and cushions, wall hangings and pictures, jewellery, toys, plants, perfumes, mobility scooters, films and DVDs (not too sure of the quality, or if they are 'legit' as we have never bought any.).
After all this browsing and buying – we have never managed to walk around the whole site in one go – we are definitely ready for a 'cuppa'. Sometimes we have breakfast, and here again the choice of restaurant or cafe is vast. Continental, Scandinavian or English, there has to be at least one establishment providing your breakfast of choice.
Our favourite is German – what could be better than a large platter of meats, eggs and delicious fresh rolls with (real) butter and preserves, plus orange juice and a large mug of tea or coffee. There are rumoured to be over one hundred cafes here, and although we have never counted them, we think this is a conservative estimate.
The start of the cafe and food area
We bought our apartment in 2002 and immediately started shopping at the local markets. For the first few years we bought all our clothes and shoes from the markets, something I would never have considered doing at home.
The quality and prices were equal to, if not better than, the chain stores in Aberystwyth where we were living at the time, (we had previously had to travel to Carmarthen for the nearest M & S for the annual purchase of our knick-knacks etc!)
Over the last couple of years nearly all the fruit and vegetable suppliers have moved to the same area of the market. This is good news for the consumers as most of the prices are the same on all stalls. (Beware the ones who do not display prices. I think they assess how much you can afford to pay - upping the prices for foreigners).
One new trend I particularly like is three or four items for one euro. The stall holders will usually let you have two items for fifty cents or four different items for a euro. The last few weeks we have been buying sweetheart cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, kohlrabis, artichokes all at '3 (items) for 1 (euro)' The stalls I usually buy from only sell seasonal products, and they will have groups of food for the same price. i.e. apples and pears (three or four different varieties of each) priced at one euro per kilo – it makes it so much easier to grab a bag and put all your apples and pears in together.
The same with peppers, aubergines, courgettes, cucumbers etc, so easy to only buy what you really want. This season has been excellent for oranges, we have been buying a six kilo bag for a euro, and they are also delicious juiced.
One thing I notice when comparing the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables here in Spain to the ones we bought in the local supermarket in the U.K., is how long they last. Lettuces never lasted more than a day or two, but here they last until you've eaten them
A garlic seller and a stall selling trousers and shorts
The last purchase we make is 'The Sunday Joint'. We have our favourite stalls; one is run by two Polish men who cook butterflied barbecued chicken with jacket potatoes and pork joints in wood burning stoves and another who has the most delicious beef and fresh baked bread.