04 July, 2011

Markets come to Malua at Neuville

One of the many delights of being in Europe is the local open air markets.  The range of produce one can purchase is vast, it is always fresh, the prices low and the purchase experience enjoyable.  I have tried by Turkish, Greek, Italian and now French on the locals and they always seem to understand what I want to buy.  It is surprising how many speak English particularly the Arabs.  They think we are British but we set that right immediately and they point out how far we are from home! Our temporary home, Malua is usually just down the road.

While in Paris we chose a market day in a particular district then spent the day in that area seeing the sights after first purchasing our lunch from the selection of vendors. Bread, cheese, olives and some fruit.  Lyon was no different except we did target the food market on quai St Antoine.  Set under the plane trees on the banks of the Saone it is supposed to represent the best food and fruit of Lyon.  Now I’m not trying to make up for the previous eating experience but I was giving the city a chance to redeem itself.  Here we stocked up on fresh fruit, veg and some veal chops.  We did not make it back to the tram within our allotted hour so had to use a second ticket. Lesson learnt from previous day but no ticket inspectors this time.
The next day we left Lyon marina at the southern tip of the Pesquille and started our journey up the Saone.  The trip through Lyon city is delightful experience for you see all the building in their true setting along the banks and on the hills and can see the wide expanse of a streetscape.  Out of town the banks are wooded with trees and grass with little industrial development.  The water level is much shallower than the Rhone.  It is only 2.0 m under the keel with some spots deeper so I have had to change my mind set to start to worry if we are going aground when the depth finder registers less than 1.5 meters.
We chose Neuville sur Saone for the nights stop along side a wall right in the heart of town adjacent to the car park which started to empty as we arrived.  By sun set it was clear and we had the quay to ourselves.  A quick walk through the town and back to Malua for Veal al la Denny with tiny potatoes, mushrooms, peas and tomatoes accompanied by some Merdoc wine.  I can recommend this restaurant – location unknown.

The following morning I woke to some different sounds, not the normal cars and traffic but the sound of people close by.  I put my head out of the companionway and I was in the middle of the local market.  It had come to Malua.  I sat in the cockpit with my early morning cup of tea and watched the market develop around me on the once vacant quay car park.  I soon realised these venders had done it before and were experience in setting up their wares and moving their goods in and out of the allotted space.  There was defiantly a joyful air of market day with a good banter between the people.  The surprising element is the trailers and vans that the vendors use to transport the goods and sell their wares.  Most are purpose built for the type of goods they are selling.  The butcher has an air conditioned glass covered display area while the fishmonger displays his catch on ice draining into a special container.  The cheese and sausage merchant a wooden board so one can taste the goods.  The sides lift up into a roof and there the goods are ready to sell, just connect to the electricity point and you are in business.  At the end of the day some things are packed away, the roof folded down, connect to the van and off you drive to the next venue.  By 13:00 everybody has moved along and the cleaning team moves in to return the quay to the cars and Malua moves up the Saone to another market, maybe not so close but the same experience.

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