Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Medieval Market

‘Don’t forget to go to the medieval market, said Olga. She was off to spend the weekend with friends in Galicia. It seems to be the vacation place of choice for Zamorans; it has a seaside.

It’s not surprising that Zamora, a town with so many twelfth century buildings, should celebrate the past, certainly there seem to be a lot of institutions dedicated to the study of ancient times. However, I was told this is the first ‘medieval market’. ‘People will be wearing disguises’ said Jose Eladio. Masquerades are a local enthusiasm, and he has his own costume for the Semana Santa procession. It's claimed to be the best in Sapin, and not only by Zamorans

The streets certainly looked the part - decked with banners and lined with stalls covered in brown material, I must say, seemed kitch, especially stalls selling jewellery and whimsical ceramics. A stall with Breton crépes and a man draped with a python seemed bizarre additions.

. However, the entertainments were good, with pipe and drum music to create an appropriate festive mood. Musicians accompanied a ‘dancing bear’ (a man in a costume) and a hawking demonstration where an eagle swooped from a tent canopy to a knight with a gauntlet.

‘Artisans’ were engaged in engaged in medieval trades, such as stone carving and embossing metal dishes using a hammer and nails, and there was a display of medieval stocks and instruments of torture with gruesome descriptions.

There were even games for children, such as this one where the aim was to raise a wooden disk by pulling ropes and not letting it slip through the holes.

The main attraction was an awning where people sat at tables and ate from wooden platters. Beside the spit with the roasting pig, an octopus was stewing in a vat, its tentacles breaking the surface of the reddish water. Smoke and the smell of roast pork filled the air. From a rectangle of counters, waiters in costumes served beer and food. Occasionally a server would shout ‘pulpo’ and chop fiercely at a tentacle cut from the mass. I ate a portion served on potatoes, accompanied by a caña of beer. Nothing medieval about the price, though -15 Euros.

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