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Around the world in 4 markets

15/01/2021
© aNadventures

“Can I help you, signorina?”, the man asked as I was having a look around. “Yes, I’m looking for baci. Do you have baci?”, I said as our eyes met. “No, unfortunately we don’t have any Baci Perugina”, he answered with a smile. I thanked him and left the store. 

Only then did it occur to me that my question had been somewhat ambiguous. Baci Perugina is an Italian chocolate brand whereas baci means kisses. What I was looking for was the chocolate. And because they didn’t have it in this store, I decided to try my luck at another Italian delicatessen I’d recently come across on one of my ramblings. 

Buongiorno!”, I was greeted by the gentleman in the next store. As I asked for baci, he led me to a counter right next to the check-out. They had both the small sized as well as the regular-sized package of baci. I opted for the larger of the two and had a stroll through the shop, admiring the extended meat and cheese selection and breathing in the smell of a home-made dish that was being prepared in the kitchen. As I looked through the shelves filled with olive jars, pasta and pesto, my gaze came upon a cookie brand named Abbracci, which translates into hugs. What goes better with kisses than hugs?, I asked myself and decided to take home both the hugs and the kisses.

When leaving the Italian delicatessen, I was in a holiday mood. There’s a Russian supermarket just around the corner, I thought. Let’s have a look there as well! The little market was almost empty and I took my time to walk through every single one of the brightly lit alleys. There were jars of jam, many different types of cookies and all sorts of sweet and savoury treats. A young man was quietly rearranging the shelves. An older one was asking for recommendations in the corner where the alcohol is sold. The humming of a Russian pop song accompanied the scene. I filled my red plastic basket with Russian chocolate and Polish sweets. When I turned to pay, I was amazed to find out the gentleman at the check-out only spoke Russian. We managed to communicate and I left with an even greater holiday spirit. 

Next stop: A Turkish supermarket. That’s like going home, I told myself. All absorbed in my thoughts, I was caught by surprise when the guy at the entrance asked me how I was doing. “I’m fine, thank you”, I mumbled as I stepped into the store. “I’m fine, too, by the way, thanks!”, he replied. I smiled at him and couldn’t help but feel a little ashamed for not having asked anything when he’d initially greeted me. The Turks are all about small talk, after all. I knew this by now. 

I guess it took me a few moments to readapt after having left “Russia”. I’d now entered this Mediterranean universe full of voices, smells and colours. This time, I understood the lyrics of the pop song that was playing. I understood the conversations of the women who worked in the market. One of them seemed to be rather new to the job and two others gathered around her, gently teasing her and exchanging the gossip of the day. I loved recognizing the many products I used to buy in Turkey. I reached out for mantı (Turkish dumplings) and decided to prepare this popular comfort food one of these days. I also grabbed a pack of lentils to cook my beloved mercimek çorbası (lentil soup). And I couldn’t help but choose the individually packed Nescafe portions, even though they’re neither environmentally friendly nor particularly healthy. But they remind me of the many days and nights I spent sitting with my dear flatmates back in Izmir. I even came upon the tiny chocolate stones that are served with coffee in many Turkish coffee shops. After paying, I walked back past the guy from the entrance and wished him a nice day, in Turkish this time. He seemed surprised and thanked me and I happily walked on to my next destination. 

As I entered the large Asian supermarket just around the next corner, I was welcomed to yet another world. The alleys were crowded with both products and people. It was challenging to keep up the recommended social distance. I was fascinated by the numerous brands of instant ramen on display as well as the many flavour combinations I’d never even imagined could exist: Strawberry cheesecake KitKat or tamarind sweets, for instance. I didn’t opt for anything particularly Asian this time, though. Instead, I purchased corn flour to prepare arepas, a kind of Colombian bread speciality. I was also happy to find a green banana to have patacones at some point later this week. These are fried banana crisps that are also very suitable to accompany traditional Colombian dishes.  

My bags filled with treats from around the globe, I happily made my way home, including a final stop at a bakery to grab a loaf of German bread. This completed my food adventure around several corners of the world. When I reached my flat, I met my neighbour, a Croatian lady. She offered me a portion of home-made chili con carne as well as börek straight from her oven. I smiled my biggest smile and felt blessed to taste so many different flavours without the need of leaving my city, not even my neighbourhood. Even though travelling is currently restricted, I felt like just having spent the most incredible journey abroad in a long while. This fueled my appetite for new adventures, near and far.  

How about YOU? When was the last time you felt on holiday in your close surroundings? 

 

From → Adventures

5 Comments
  1. Urlaubsgefühl auf meinem Sofa gerade.

  2. Ach schön, irgendwie habe ich jetzt auch Urlaubsstimmung. Lieben Dank!

    • Das freut mich sehr! Urlaubsstimmung unter dem grauen Berliner Winterhimmel ist etwas wunderbares. 😉

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