Visiting Mercados in Portugal as a Tourist

Mercado Municipal de Viseu in 1992

What fascinates so many travellers about markets? I know that here, in Toronto, the St. Lawrence Market is also a favourite tourist destination. Markets allow us to enter the world of the “locals” and see people at their most relaxed; usually on a Saturday morning, as they browse through farm-fresh fruit and vegetable stalls or pick out flowers for a weekend dinner party, excited to interact with the people who actually grow the produce they bring to the city to sell.

I have experienced the St. Lawrence Market as a “local,” not as a tourist. As a “local,” I am absorbed in my purchases; as a tourist I am focused on observing my surroundings. The tourist is still the outsider, taking photographs of oranges and lettuces as if they were some exotic things.

So, when I have visited markets in Portugal, I am the outsider taking the photographs of oranges and lettuces. I enjoyed walking through the mercados in Viseu, Porto, Vila Real de Santo António, as well as Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

But it’s not so much the produce of the mercados that entices me to linger just a bit longer than necessary for someone who is just looking; it’s hearing the cacophony of people’s voices speaking in a language I love.

Viseu, 1992

Viseu, 1992

Porto, 1984

Vila Real de Santo António, 2009

Vila Real de Santo António, 2009

Vila Real de Santo António, 2009

Mercado da Graça, Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores, 2000

Outside mercado da Graça, Ponta Delgada, 2000

Mercado da Graça, Ponta Delgada, 2001

Mercado da Graça, Ponta Delgada, 2001

Mercado da Graça, Ponta Delgada, 2008

Mercado da Graça, Ponta Delgada, 2008

The middle box contains grosselhas, tart yet delicious. Mercado da Graça, Ponta Delgada, 2008

Old mercado de Viseu, 1992

About thetorzorean

The musings of a torontonian azorean on identity and belonging. You can find me at https://thetorzorean.com/
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5 Responses to Visiting Mercados in Portugal as a Tourist

  1. Kathie B says:

    I remember being astonished during my first visit to the Azores by all those pineapples in the Ponta Delgada mercado!

    As for the home-front, John missed weekly produce shopping at our local farmers’ market all last summer, because we both chose to be super-cautious about coming near others before there was a Covid vaccine. This year will be different for us, though, as we’re both fully vaxxed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nuno França says:

    O nosso mercado é especial!
    Adorei todas as fotografias, mas em particular as de Ponta Delgada. Belos registos!
    Abraço

    Liked by 1 person

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