There is a saying in Ireland that goes like this: ‘the way to a mans heart is through his stomach’. However, I don’t think any human being could forget the sight, smell or taste of the organic, home grown food produced in Peru’s Sacred Valley.
Urubamba has a large indoor market and is less than 30 minutes drive from Ollantaytambo (where I lived for 9 weeks in 2013). It costs 1 Sol 50 cents to go by mini-van with stunning views of the mountains and Urubamba river to be admired along the way.
Wednesday is the best day to go as, that is the day when the freshest produce is available. So off I went on a Wednesday to see for myself. It was tremendous to be surrounded by so many good things that Pacha Mama/Mother Earth created. I absorbed it all, the colours, the earthy and fruity smells and the busy atmosphere of the market.
One elderly man spoke to me in what I assumed to be Quechua (the language of the Incas). I remembered some phrases that my Ollantaytambo friends had been teaching me and found the words to ask ‘how are you?’ The elderly man sat up in grand surprise and smiling from ear to ear he stretched forward to offer me his hand in a friendly shake. I giggled to myself thinking ‘he must have understood my Quechua.’
I took many photos and even tried on clothes, discovering rather indelicately that I am a bit larger in size than the Peruvian ladies. ‘Grande! Grande’!’ I was told by one sales woman as she shouted for all to hear. There were only 3 sizes available, Small, Grande and Extra Grande. We ended up laughing about my reaction to being told I was LARGE….back in Europe I am much smaller!
I did to my detriment, however, eat a marvelous strawberry that was handed to me by one stall owner. In my delight I ignored the rule about ‘washing all fruit’ before eating and next morning after a lengthy session in the baňos (loo) my landlady enquired ‘what did you eat at the market?’ I groaned when I thought of the strawberry, it was delicious at the time but had malicious consequences.
I now look back in humour and leave you with some photographs in memory of that day…spot the strawberry ( O; and stay tuned for more about Peruvian food and Life in Ollantaytambo, Peru.