On my way to visit 'The Portico', I was pleased to catch a glimpse of the weekly clothes market along the south bank of the Rio Cervol, from the San Nicolau road bridge right down to the start of the promenade. For once I was in town early enough to catch the covered food market open, and was able to take some interior pictures of it. Not long ago this early 20th century building with a simple iron frame high clerestory roof had been given a make-over to enhance the 'food retail experience'. The shop units around the wall and the central island have been modernised, and brown Spanish marble flooring is ubiquitous.
I later learned that the back entrance, with supermarket style glass sliding doors, was new, replacing in part an old goods delivery area. It offers more shop units, but many of them remain unfilled. The building was shut for trade over two years. Some former traders have failed to return, new competitors for available spaces are not forthcoming, as rentals are considered too high. Something imaginative has been done as an interim measure, however. Many of the empty booths have been used as exhibition spaces for local photography, and some is food related. There's one small cafe bar. The place would benefit from a few small cooked food outlets, using only local produce. That'd bring in the self-catering visitors! Owain spoke about the success of this initiative in a popular indoor market he visited in Madrid last year.
After an hour or so chatting with people in 'The Portico', and helping to re-arrange the place for Sunday, I went hunting for a bus time table at the tourist office, having wasted time waiting for a bus on a half hour schedule, when I'd just missed one on my way in. I was pleased to have made myself understood in my experimental Spanish. Then, I walked up to the clothes market and took photos. There must be more than a half mile of stalls in total, along the river bank and promenade, plus on some of the roads crossing the out door sports and leisure area in between. What a lovely setting to do business.
After siesta time, Les and Brenda collected me to go to Anthea's, where I had my first lesson in playing Bridge. It must be over thirty years since I last played any sort of card game. None of the vocabulary or terminology of the game meant anything to me. It was bewildering at the start, and quite a challenge for memory and concentration. They were so patient with me, and this has left me with some homework to do before next Wednesday's session at 'The Portico', where I'll partner Anthea, whose regular Bridge partner is away at the moment. Half way through the session there was a huge dramatic downpour, with hailstones.
As we left, the fragrance of a cool evening breeze off the mountains was pungent with wild herbs. Mmmmm.