Market day - David Kennedy and Sarah Sheehan

Market Day in Enguerra

Our Campsite near Navarres


We had spent the night camping for free on a site kindly provided by a local man in memory of childhood holidays above the town of Navarres, and then driven several miles through the forest on an unmade road that not even Mr Michelin knows about. Clearly other vehicles had passed that way, but we had no idea where we would end up.

Our adventures that day had started before we’d even had breakfast, which we resolved to treat ourselves to in the next town we came across, which happened to be Enguerra.

Driving up the wide main street, we spotted a busy cafe with tables spilling out on to the pavement, so just had to stop there. Claiming the only empty table we looked around at all the other customers. Most appeared to know each other and were enjoying catching up with friends and neighbours, and by the look of it all had a glass of something alcoholic in front of them, even though it was barely 10am.

Even the group of three sedate ladies with their sparkling water accepted a small tot of something – we wondered if it might be sherry or Patxaran, a Spanish digestif made from sloes. The two gents sat in companiable silence on the next table ordered a second bottle of red wine to go with the salted peanuts roasted in their shells.

The view on our route to Enguerra


We were able to order ourselves coffee, but when it came to something to eat, our command of the Spanish language was woefully lacking. A little sign language later I followed the barman inside to see what was on offer, so selected sardinas y queso for me, and some kind of 'baa-con' for David. Maybe not quite the breakfast we had envisioned, but still delicious!

Wandering up the road afterwards, I hear da general buzz of people coming from around a corner and followed my ears to find out why everyone in the cafe was in such a good mood. Not only was it Saturday, but market day! A couple of squares by the church and a connecting road had been closed to traffic, and all the usual stalls were there, selling everything from fruit and vegetables, to shoes or soft furnishing. Children’s socks? Not quite ten a penny, but three pairs for a euro...

I had another reminder that I needed to learn a bit more Spanish as I bought tomates, pepinos and pimientos rojos for a salad, and David added bread, cheese – and some ham to share with Lola. What were we to do next but sit outside another cafe, order a cold drink and watch the world go by. On one side, neighbours chatted and compared purchases whilst two small children threw a tantrum until they were each allowed to choose (of all things!) a new cushion, delightful twin girls in matching white sundresses politely greeted their mother's friends, and a cheeky dog pulled its owner over to the cooked chicken vendor.

Sitting in the square with a glass of granizado limón – crushed ice and fresh lemon juice – I watched the market, not forgetting to look up as well at the surrounding buildings. The white painted house next door had pretty blue and yellow tiles around the doors and windows, and slatted blinds hanging down over ornate wrought iron balconies to keep the house cool inside.

Just an ordinary town on an ordinary market day, but what a great place to spend the morning. Not every landmark experience is marked on the map.