One of the highlights of our summer trips to Romania was an outing to a local market, in a nearby town. I remember it was always an exciting morning excursion.
The sights and the smells were intoxicating. Row upon row of organic vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, gerkins, onions and corn on the cob to name a few, were so fresh you could smell the earth from where they’d been plucked.
The noise was almost deafening as vendors shouted out prices, competing with the man or woman on the next stall. Chickens clucked, piglets grunted and bad tempered geese hissed.
I was always drawn to the basket weavers. I would stand in awe watching nimble fingers work their magic, deftly working long reeds and branches into works of art and attractive sellable items. The Roma were known and admired for this particular skill and earned a living from making baskets. Their work was highly respected and many relied on their services to both store and transport goods. I always came away with a small basket or two! My aunts usually bought a wicker carpet beater, the ideal gadget for knocking the dust out of carpet runners and rugs. I also witnessed it being used on naughty children too!
The market was always crowded, with people in a hurry, pushing and shoving and mixed with intense heat and the noise levels, the whole experience could leave you feeling a little dizzy.
When I was young, someone always had a firm grip on my hand. As the years went by, I’d wander around with friends and we’d usually make our way to an ice cream seller for a cooling treat.
The photo here shows my mother and father filling their basket with huge, fresh ripe tomatoes. I’m almost certain that when they landed back in Apold, they would have been made into a rich sauce to smother minced pork-stuffed peppers…..and that was my father’s favourite meal!