Markets Around the World

In the spirit of the holidays during a stay-at-home pandemic, please join me for a magic carpet ride around the world visiting a few lively outdoor markets.

We’ll start in North America and Mexico, cruise over Europe, look in on Australia, and end our magical adventure in South America. (Pre-pandemic photos.)

Outdoor markets are a good opportunity to observe the locals and their livelihoods; and purchase tasty treats and souvenirs directly from the source.

First up: Santa Fe, New Mexico. The local artisan market is located at the Palace of the Governors, an adobe structure built in 1610. Exquisite turquoise and silver jewelry are the specialty sold here.

I bought a pair of earrings from this jewelry artist in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Her busy hands quietly worked the fine details of her craft as she tended her table.

Urban markets, in their bustling atmosphere, showcase locally grown specialties and cater to big crowds.

Here are two popular California Bay Area markets.

Local produce is in abundance, usually harvested that morning or the night before and bursting with freshness.

Each market locale has its home-grown specialties.

Salmon, cherries and apples highlight the Seattle markets. Pike Place Market opened in 1907 and remains a popular and fun tourist attraction.

This Ballard neighborhood market (below) was a joy. We pitted five pounds of cherries with our friend after we left here, made jam.

Watermelon in Mexico…

… and grapes in wine country.

The celebration of outdoor markets at Christmastime requires mentioning the Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria. Classic holiday markets featuring sparkling light displays, outdoor stalls, traditional foods and beverages. Although I have not been to these markets, several friends have brought them alive for me.

Before we cross the Equator, I have to check on the magic carpet’s fuel level. It’s a good time to take a few minutes to click into the famous markets in Vienna…the first of which was held in 1298.

My friend and fellow blogger Mike Powell has dazzling photos from his visit last year: Vienna Christmas Market and Vienna Christmas Lights.

The magic carpet is in good shape, so we’ll glide on over to Australia to The Rocks Market in Sydney. I have spent many hours here buying souvenirs, but one of the most memorable items was quickly eaten up: a giant garlicky meatball.

I like all the markets–busy with people in their life’s work, live music and savory aromas.

But it is the remote village markets that are my favorite. Foreign lifestyles, rural and non-commercial, sometimes a foreign language barrier, yet still universally human and earthly.

We came across this busy African market in Arusha, Tanzania.

In Kenya we arrived by motorboat to this village island market in Lake Baringo, Kenya.

Across the globe in the shadow of Peru’s towering Andes Mountains, various crops like potatoes, corn and grains are terrace-farmed and sold.

All the big, lumpy bags in this village’s market are filled with potatoes.

While in the Amazon valley, we spotted these just-picked bananas being brought down the Madre de Dios River to be driven to market.

Traditional textiles of Peru date back over 10,000 years and remain an attraction for quality craftsmanship and fine alpaca wools. We found many markets selling woven tapestries and clothing throughout the Cuzco region.

I bought this purple sweater from this weaver.

I hope this magic carpet ride revived a few of your memories of markets or farmers or good times. I extend my warmest wishes for sweet moments in your holidays.

Written by Jet Eliot.

Photos by Athena Alexander.

88 thoughts on “Markets Around the World

  1. What a fun carpet ride. Thank you.
    It did revive some personal memories of outdoor market adventures. Montreaux Switzerland, I was 24 and I recieved a hand slap for touching a tomatoe ( I may have squeezed it, my error in world travel) , Capri Italy and Jarrahdel Australia. Jarrahdel was an actual farm where I walked into an unattended barn, picked out veggies, weighed them and left cash in a jar….

    • I so enjoyed hearing about your outdoor market adventures, Deanna, thanks very much. Leaving cash in a jar for fresh veggies is excellent, and the hand-slapping for a tomato squeeze…hmmm, that’s not very nice. Thanks so much for your visit and contribution.

  2. What a wonderful feast for the eyes you’ve provided, Jet and Athena. It is amazing how many of the markets feature food items from the region as well as hand made products. Eating, in my humble opinion, is an essential part of the market experience. My favorite markets are always the ones that manage to avoid becoming overly commercialized and turning into tourist attractions. Some of the Christmas markets in Vienna have fallen victim to this and much of the merchandise in the market stalls is the same mass-produced stuff you find in big box stores. The cool thing about Vienna is that there are over a dozen Christmas markets to visit and the atmosphere is a little different in each one. Thanks for taking us along on your magic carpet ride, Jet, though I must confess that the words “magic carpet ride” always bring to mind the Steppenwolf song from my youth. Christmas will be upon us in a week, so let me wish you and Athena a Merry Christmas now, and best wishes for a safe and happy celebration.

    • I’m happy you enjoyed the carpet ride, Mike. I almost made it a sleigh ride, but I decided all those reindeer make more of a racket than just a quiet rug. I really enjoyed your discussion here about the Vienna markets, and am appreciative that I could share your lovely photos from Vienna with my readers today. I can imagine it’s not as fun to do your Vienna work this week virtually, compared to the past Decembers when you could enjoy the sights of Austria after work. But how wonderful you captured such great photos, espec. those difficult night shots. Thanks so very much, my friend, and I’m sending warm wishes for a Merry Christmas to you.

    • Thanks Tim, I’m glad you liked the markets today. Once I started thinking about it for this post, I was surprised at all the different kinds there are in this world. Cheers to you, and many thanks.

      • When we lived in Spain, they had supermarkets, but I generally went to the central commercial areas where there various individual were vendors who specialized in meat, cheese, vegetables, frozen goods, fish and seafood, etc. I got to know the shop keepers and they knew what I liked, so when they got something exotic, they let me know.

        My cheese vendor would buy the really fancy rounds of queso Manchego that water had dripped on the rounds ruining a small portion of the round. He would cut the bad part out and sell me cheese rounds that normally cost $36/kilo for $8/kilo. Fantastic cheese for the price of regular cheese.

        I discovered the guy I bought frozen veggies from had corn that he kept under the counter. Most Spaniards don’t eat corn, as they see it as animal feed. My Spanish friends said they got their corn when they ate the pigs. I had to go at slow times when no one was around to buy corn, because he didn’t want other customers to know he sold corn. Buying corn in Madrid was like buying drugs.

        We have been to many small markets in Spain, France and Italy. We don’t have anything like them in New Mexico.

      • Fantastic descriptions of your world market experiences, Tim. You mention one of the fun parts of farmer’s markets that I didn’t, knowing the merchant and getting special treatment. I liked hearing about the rounds of queso Manchego and absolutely l o v e d the veggie merchant in Spain story, that buying corn in Madrid is like buying drugs. Really great — thanks for your contribution today.

  3. How can someone not appreciate the great work you and Athena
    have done I don’t know. Just the travels alone would be plenty enough
    if you were to consider moving luggage from one place to another, then
    traveling to sites where photo opportunities might take place!
    How very fantastic all of it you two. Happy holidays and big hugs
    from little ole me, love, Eddie

    • Dear Eddie, it’s wonderful to receive your warm words and appreciation. And yes, there is a lot of planning, schlepping, logistics and sometimes difficulties involved in this kind of travel. But it’s more fun than anything else, and I’m happy I can share some of the beauty that surrounds us in this world. Thanks so much, my friend, and sending holiday wishes your way.

    • I smiled at your comment, Nan, and am so glad you enjoyed the perfectly safe adventure of cruising around the world today. While I was composing this, I fondly remembered that trip we made to your grocery store in GA and that giant box of unshelled peanuts. A Georgia specialty, but not outdoors. My thanks and love to you.

  4. I enjoyed all of these photos and your accompanying commentary. When I travel, I like to visit local markets, as many as possible, as they provide a unique view into what life really is for the people.

    • It is really great fun to visit the local markets, Hien, and I’m glad you enjoyed a virtual visit today. I would imagine you have plenty of experiences in Asian markets, something I aspire to. My warmest thanks.

  5. So many different places, so much food! The Ferry Building is amazing, I’ve seen a video of the city just days after the big 1906 earthquake, the building standing strong.

    • I love the Ferry Bldg, so I’m glad you enjoyed it here, John. I’ve seen that video too and it’s impossible to contemplate how that bldg. stayed up when everything else around it tumbled to the ground. There have been several renovations there and it’s looking beautiful these days. There are lovely indoor markets every day there, and then outdoor markets on certain days. I don’t know the pandemic status. Thanks so much, I enjoyed your visit and comment.

  6. It looks so strange to see crowds of people not “social distancing.” Wonder if we’ll ever get back to being closer again. Lovely market tour, Jet. I kind of shuddered when I saw that huge pile of bananas on that person’s head. Don’t they care that tarantulas hide in there?

    • Wonderful comment, Anneli. I’m always amazed at the huge loads that African women carry on top of their heads. I tried it several times, but it takes a lot of practice, apparently, because it is not easy. Many thanks for your visit.

  7. Thank you for another beautiful window to other worlds, a welcome break from the bleak view outside my real window. Here’s to a healthy, peaceful, and adventurous New Year!

    • It was so fun to put this post together, I’m really glad you enjoyed looking through the glass of a different window today, Susan. My warmest thanks and best wishes to you for a better new year.

    • So wonderful to enjoy the carpet ride with you today, Deborah, thanks for joining us. There is so much variety in markets around the world, and yet no matter how different they are, they really are not that different at all — people sharing their food and gifts. Thanks so much, and happy holidays to you.

  8. Wonderful to get on that magic carpet market tour Jet. I appreciate you keeping an eye on the fuel level so as not to plummet out of the sky on our way to Vienna. I love wandering the markets of a destination. Chinchero was one of my top picks.
    Looking at these crowds, it now seems hard to imagine we will ever feel that immersing ourselves in humanity will be the safe thing to do. There is hope ahead. I shall hang on to that.

    • I still have a carpet that takes fuel, but maybe by the time this pandemic is over and traveling is okay again, my carpet will be electric, or better yet, self-driving. Glad you enjoyed Chinchero. I know you’ve been to much of Peru, so I’m thinking you’ve been to Chinchero too. Sending smiles and hope your way, Sue, for new days ahead when we can once again adventure the world. Thanks so very much.

  9. Much better than “Take me away, Calgon.” πŸ™‚ I love markets like these and I’m looking forward to exploring the farmer’s market here in Gilbert. Last Saturday Hayden Flour Mill hosted a very small holiday market of small vendors which was fun, allowing us to support local and small businesses as well as get some delicious products. Win-win.


    • I enjoyed your comment, Janet, because I remember that Calgon commercial so well and know exactly what you mean…and am happy to hear today’s market post rated so high. Also liked hearing about your local holiday market in Gilbert. Have fun this weekend, and thanks so much for your visit today.

  10. Thanks for the enjoyable carpet ride, Jet! Colourful and lively, and I can’t wait for something resembling normal to return, and I can sit at the edge of Tofino market, visiting with Wayne, armed with a coffee and people watching.
    The photographs are wonderful, and I particularly like the final Peruvian streetscape.
    Enjoy your weekend!

    • Wonderful to hear your memories and enjoyments of the Tofino market, pc. It sounds good to me too. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll sit there with you and Wayne while Athena captures photos. I’m glad you liked that final Peruvian streetscape. I almost didn’t put it in, because there were already so many photos, but at the last minute I did because it’s a cool photo. Really glad you liked it. My warmest thanks, pc, and best wishes to you and Mrs. pc for a sweet holiday.

  11. Loved the magic carpet ride, Jet and Athena. It brought back fond memories of my trip to Central and South America. I loved visiting the markets, where I often ate and bought quite a lot of clothing and souvenirs, most of which I still have after 40 years. Who could part with those lovely weavings?
    Have a great weekend!

    • Your description of your trip to Central and South America is reminiscent of mine, Eliza. It’s the greatest place to buy clothing and souvenirs for everyone you know. The weavings are so spectacular. Thanks so much for your visit today and for adding your memories, much appreciated.

  12. I always have told my friends the following: If you visit any exotic country and you want to know the best places to visit or find what no tourist ever see, visit their Open Market. I have always done that and got best results! I loved this post a lot because I’ve been to some of those places you have mentioned and I relived the memories! Thank you very much, my friend. πŸ™‚

    • I’m with you, HJ, the open markets are indeed the best places to observe the foreign lifestyles. I know you spent a lot of time in Peru and environs, so I’m really glad this post could revive some favorite places and memories for you. Warmest thanks and happy wishes to you, my friend.

    • As a frequent and world traveler, you must’ve seen a lot of markets, Sylvia. I’m glad I could share these with you until you can travel again. Sending thanks and happy holidays to you.

    • Wherever you travel to, there are markets, because no matter how remote you go, people have to eat. So what a pleasure for us travelers to see how others live. I am happy I could share these with you, Bill, and so appreciate your visit.

    • It’s been a hard year with this ugly pandemic, but it won’t last forever. One day sometime in our future, we’ll be exploring markets and other worlds again. Until then, I’m glad I could share these markets around the world with you, Frank. And I’m really glad you enjoyed the tour. Thanks so much.

    • It was great fun to recall some of the adventures we’ve had in markets, and it sounds like you enjoy doing this too, Patty Anne. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in on the magic carpet ride.

    • I know you must have been to your fair share of open air markets, Craig, because your recent novel has the band/heroes visiting outdoor booths and enjoying the scene. It’s great. Thanks so much for your visit, my friend, and I’m hoping your holidays are lovely too.

  13. I thoroughly enjoyed this magic carpet ride, Jet, and imagined visiting these colorful, bountiful places. Thank you for the world tour! The journey actually did revive a few memories. When I was a teen in the 1970s, living near Athens, Greece, we often visited The Plaka, located in the streets below the Acropolis. I remember all the hand painted Orthodox church icons and lots of jewelry. And the food! I used to love getting the lamb grilled on a vertical spit, wrapped in a pita with veggies and tzatziki sauce. My father also loved going to the local neighborhood farmers market there to pick up something to cook for dinner. We ate a lot of fresh fish, as I recall…

    • Oh what a treat to hear about your experiences living in Athens, Barbara, and the markets and food and adventures you had there. Thank you so much for extending our magic carpet trip to Greece, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cheers to you, my friend.

  14. oh Jet, this is such a treat! a wonderful magic carpet ride shopping around the world! Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year! thank you for all your great posts and photos. i wish you and Athena all the best! πŸ™‚

  15. Jet, what a creative way to organize photos from your trips. And such a colorful delight during this time of overcast skies in my neck of the woods. We don’t have Christmas markets where I live (that I know of!) but one of my daughters lives in Cologne, Germany and she ‘used to’ love going to the Christmas market and would often send beautiful photos of her visits.

    I wish a very happy holiday to you and Athena. May your new year bring both of you blessings.

    • It was wonderful to receive your visits today, LuAnne, thanks so much. I liked hearing about your daughter’s love for the Christmas market while living in Cologne. I have seen many gorgeous photos and excited friends with the same reaction while in Germany and Austria. Thank you for your holiday wishes, and I send you my warmest wishes, too, for a lovely holiday and new year.

    • We, too, are looking forward to that predicted rain on Christmas, Jan. Some people like the snow, but we Californians get oh-so-excited about the rain. It would be dreamy next year to breathe fresh air and not have to evacuate or go without power. Don’t forget that the Magic Carpet is always available. As writers we have that ability to jump on faster than most, so I invite you to jump on. Cheers my friend, many thanks and happy holidays.

  16. You’ve played up the quaint and appealing aspects of markets around the world, and who can blame you? When I arrived in Honduras in December of 1967, I found Tegucigalpa’s food market to be pretty revolting, with unpleasant smells, flies on the meat, and rotten food on the ground. I have to hope they’ve cleaned it up in the half-century since I lived there. In contrast, I found the markets in Guatemala to be nicer.

  17. JET!!! This was SOOOOO wonderful! I’ll go on a magic carpet ride with You anywhere, anytime! My LORD the world and her people are sooo very beautiful! Your sharings brought tears of joy to my eyes, laughter, crazy amounts of delight and my mouth actually watered at the site of those cherries! And….WHAT?!!! Ya’ll made jelly? Pitted 5 pounds of cherries. Ok. Y’all are OFFICIALLY Goddesses!!! My hat and heart are off to Y’all! THANK YOU!!! Sending the HUGEST hugs Your way!!!!!! And in the New Year may Y’all be able to joyfully resume Your adventures! πŸ€—πŸ’–πŸ₯‚!!!

    • I have a big smile on my face, Katy, after reading your warm and loving and animated comment. I agree with you, and liked your words, “…the world and her people are sooo very beautiful!” Thanks so much for stopping by. Yesterday after enjoying your enchanting New Years post, I found myself humming the song about ants, it’s a happy song called “High Hopes.” Thanks for bringing me happy thoughts this year, my friend, and I have high hopes that our new year will be a happy one.

      • Oh my gosh, Jet…my absolute pleasure!!! You just made me smile so big! I can’t believe that song didn’t come into my mind at all while hanging out with the ants. I love that song!!! Now that’s a very happy one to have looping around our heads, isn’t it?!! And a it’s great song for the New Year! YAY and Cheers! And Thank YOU, dear Jet, for all of the smiles You gift me!!! Huge Hugs!!! πŸ€—πŸ’–πŸ˜Š

  18. Marvelous post, Jet! Markets like these are a thrill to experience and to photograph. I’ve enjoyed a few of these over the years… won’t it be nice to once again wander crowded markets? πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks so much, Jane. Yes, it will be wonderful when we can wander crowded markets again, taking in the sights and sounds of beautiful markets and people. Until then, we enjoy the photos and memories. New years wishes to you, dear friend.

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