Mercado da Ribeira
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A Market Experience
Across from the Cais do Sodre railroad station in Lisbon, is the Mercado da Ribeiro - the market. The building, topped with a Moorish-style dome, and with an iron interior, is a beautiful, historic structure built around 1882. It has been operating for over 100 years. It usually opens at 5:00 am and winds down about 13:00,14:00. Best to check with the hotel desk about the hours. The market had a huge selection of fresh meats, fresh seafood, Portuguese spices, yummy pastries, stunning flower stalls, and more on the ground floor. The upper level is now a cultural center offering local and national handicrafts, and historic books, and leaflets. The market was well run. I loved hearing the clerks call out the prices and specials of the day. I was told by one fishmonger that the chefs of many of Lisbon's top restaurants shopped there early each day for their kitchens. I bought some fresh crusty barley bread and some soft Portuguese mountain (Serra) cheese - a delicious snack- and munched as I wandered the stalls downstairs and up to the upper level where I bought some kitchen towels and pot holders with the Portuguese rooster. The smells, tastes, sounds, and sights were a treat that I remember well. If you go, make sure you go before 10:00am. (The earlier, the better). After that, the market quiets down and you miss the excitement and heart of the Mercado.
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