Monday, 26 November 2007

Continental Markets

This month there have been two Continental Markets in our are and we've been to both because they are so much fun. I must admit... if anyone had told me ten years ago I'd find walking around in rain at freezing temperature "fun" I'd have say "NEVER!" One thing I have learnt in Scotland is that weather doesn't have to be perfect to be fun. In South Africa I left the beach and went home if it got below 24 Celcius and I ran for cover when it started raining. Here it took me about a year to get used to the fact people stay out in the rain and it took me two years to think of 24 C as a hot summer's day!

Even so the two Continental Markets were cold. The first, in Inverness, was windy cold, but the second, in Elgin, was just plain FREEZING!

...and we still had fun both times. :-)

The Continental Markets are outdoor markets with goods from Europe mostly. I say "mostly" because at the Inverness one there was a very nice Chinese lady who sold me a turtle pendant and I have seen Turkish stores in other years. The markets are held in Summer and Winter. The summer ones have more flowers, the winter ones more food. Oh my... such wonderful food!
In Inverness we mostly wandered around looking and eating, but this weekend in Elgin we went Christmas shopping... and eating. ;-) The stores offer you free samples, which works! You try something amazing and delicious and you want to buy it. We bought until our money was gone.

The photos I took were at the Inverness market. It was dark at Elgin (we got there around sunset 3:30-4:00) so I never took any photos.

Inverness Market from the middle looking down towards the river Ness, then up towards the Eastgate shopping centre.

This store was so pretty I had to take a photo. All the crockery on the left was poppies, in the middle were flowers and farm animals and on the right (off the photo) were mugs wih dogs and cheaper ledt-over mugs. We bought some of the cheaper coffee mugs. They have fruit on them - pears, strawberries and plums.

A Dutch store selling tiny pancakes with toppings of cream, caramel, choclate and other tasty things. They were delicious. I could eat a mountain of them.

At the Inverness market we had German Wurst sausages on rolls for lunch and then later we had a French dish of potatoes, cheese, onion and bacon. Very creamy and tasted amazingly good. At both markets they were selling everything from sweets, dried fruit and biscuits to sausages, pickles and cheeses.

At the Elgin market we bought French cheeses, fresh baked (portable oven) French bread and biscuits, sausages from... somewhere, Polish apple and pear cider, Greek olives stuffed with chili and garlic and Turkish delight. I also got some embroidered towels for Christmas gifts.

Then we went home and ate a bit of everything...


It was freezing cold in Elgin, but we stayed anyway because there was a band playing great music and everyone was having fun. My feet were frozen and my hands hurt from the cold, but I still had a good time. The band had a fiddler who played some lovely pieces and then their drummer did a solo, which my mom enjoyed as she loves drums. We left only because we still had to get some groceries before heading home, but I must admit that next time I'll dress warmer!


  1. LOVE the pics and the story, M!!! I can TOTALLY relate to the cold weather he he he...Since I'm still new here, these days I'd rather feel too hot outside than feel freezing he he he he...but you're right...I never thought I could have fun when it was SO cold outside he he he he...

    And I LOVE open markets! ;-D

  2. Oh, how fun! :o) The pictures are great! The OG and I love to go to what we call here "Flea Markets" where they sell antiques, crafts, collectibles and anything else they can sell. The food isn't anywhere near as exciting as what you describe, though. It runs to funnel cakes and corn dogs to hot dogs and barbeque pork. One has to go into Chicago for the Taste of Chicago for the good stuff. Too much of a crowd there, though.

    And Elgin! I sat here giggling. I lived for 20 years in a town here called Elgin - where the famous Elgin watches used to be made and likely named after your Elgin. But I believe ours is pronounced with a soft "g" and not a hard one. I had a picture in my mind of you and your family roaming the downtown of our Elgin! :o)

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. I would love to go to one of those. I don't get cold. :) I told my wife that I would take her to England some day (she has a British fetish). I hope I will be able to afford it.

  4. You're making me drool! The pictures look so good and the food sound so delicious! I remember going to such markets, they call it festive markets in Eastern Europe and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories.

    You should go more often but dress in thick warm clothes!

    It's funny we have the same behavoir about rain here in the tropics. Everyone dashes for cover in a light drizzle...nobody enjoys the rain but I have seen how people just continue walking under the rain in Europe.

  5. I enjoyed reading that Michelle - thanks.

    I've never been to Elgin, but I have been to Inverness and I remember it was VERY cold!

    That food sounds delish!

    In common with a comment above, I know of an Elgin not far from where we live (pronounced Eljin).
    I know of two Stirlings too, in Oklahoma and Colorado. States tend to duplicate place names a lot. I think the early settlers were not aware of what other settlers were calling their little towns. :-) The Scots were great travellers weren't they!

  6. Hi everyone

    Glad you enjoyed the trip through the market... sorry I can't email food! ;-)

    Betty and Twlight
    Yes, it's ElGin with a hard "g" here. Funny how settlers took their place names with htem. I live about ten miles from the original Dallas... it's a tiny village. That was a big... um small, surprise! lol

    I hope you and your wife get the chance to do that one day. :-)

    Yeah, so funny how we fear rain in the tropics where it's pleasant to be in and in the North they just ignore it. :-D

  7. Man, everyone seems to be pro photographers lol...

    But that's looks fun, I wish we had markets like that in Perth.

    Perth, the Dullsville..

    Safe but dull huh lol///

  8. Hi Shan

    My sister-in-law lives in Perth and yeah, it does sound dull. But maybe dull is good for when you're sudying? No distractions? ;-)

  9. I really liked reading this - could almost taste the snacks, feel the atmosphere (and the cold! :-)) and hear the music! - I can relate, because they have a continental market every year in Belfast at the same time and I used to inevitably passed through there after work in the afternoons and liked trying the sweet stuff especially :-). (I'm mostly a savory fan, but made exceptions) It's only been a year since. This Xmas will be my first warm (HOT) one in a while. Enjoy, and have a tasty snack on me next time you go :-) - Great photos by the way. J.

  10. Thanks J

    Ahhh... hot Xmas. One thing I do miss is warm Christmas eves with the windows open and the Christmas beetles screaming their little.... wings off? legs off? LOL

    and the smell of cut grass, and rain. For some reason rain on Christmas eve spells "festive" to me.

    enjoy your Southern Christmas - wave at the Southern Cross and tell it I miss it. :-)



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