Whilst clearing up some space on my phone, I was distracted by a set of photos silently languishing on my Hipstamatic App. These photos were taken on our last visit to Porto. I remember the day so clearly. It was a bright, hot afternoon with clear skies gazing over the final few moments of our trip. We were dawdling. We had a flight to catch, and we hadn’t yet collected our baggage from the hotel. There we were, dangerously low on time, but unable to resist the lure of the Mercado do Bolhao in the afternoon sunshine.
I remember our waiter being rather jittery and vaguely unsteady as he handed us our menus, took our order and instead of dutifully relaying it to the kitchen, he wobbled off into the corner. Out of sight of the chef, he was gulping from a beer can he’s snuck behind a potted plant. Hiro and I looked at each other knowingly, and exhaled exasperation. We had to stick it out now that we’d placed our order.
My eyes must have been a flickery of movement as I took in the moment. Eyes darted from the people walking around the market to the clock and then fellow diners animated in their conversations and their equally knowing looks as our wobbly waiter plonked their plates precariously close to the edge of their tables. Jeered by the sight of the stacks of empty plates around us, anxiousness chafed my mood. as I eyed the kitchen hatch.
Tapping fingers, swilling lager, listening to the clamour rising……Then our food arrived. It was good. Really good. Though we had little time to savour and relax. I wish we had more time. Just an hour or perhaps two.
P.S. We first visited this market with The Worst Tour of Porto. They were great guides and they told many things that no guide book would know. One of the things they said was that this market was in danger of closure as it had been bought by a developer for ‘modernisation’. How sad we are to learn today from DELUMINATORS that this has come to pass. We are so glad that we experienced the Mercado do Bolhão when it was still alive (HERE).