Postcard from... Porto
Porto’s Mercado do Bolhao market, the best known of northern Portugal’s capital city, is hugely colourful and bustling. But the two-storey market’s dense, twisting patchwork of tiny sales counters and stalls, offering everything from crates of live hens to wooden domino sets, port-tasting sessions and sackfuls of dujao and mantiga beans, contrasts painfully with the battered building it occupies.
Not to mention the two plush shopping malls – all elevators, split level shopping floors and acres of glass windows – situated less than a stone’s throw away.
The Bolhao – the Bubble – meanwhile, looks to be close to sinking into the land marshes that reputedly lurk below.
Segments of its upper floor landings, overlooking a huge, unevenly surfaced open-air courtyard hosting long lines of stalls, are supported by networks of equally rickety-looking scaffolding. Its broad stone stairways are cracked and crumbling and it’s hard to find a wall not begging for a coat of fresh paint.
Protected by two towering original 19th century wrought iron gates, inside there’s nothing as modern as a lift or escalator. In fact with its quantities of extremely fresh local food produce, alongside stalls offering peacock feathers, seashells from the nearby Atlantic, newly cut flowers and even giant-size wooden cutlery, the Bolhao feels like a throwback to times when shopping centres did not exist.
Quite how long the market can remain in its current state of permanent decay, though, remains to be seen.
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...