There’s barely anything that puts a bigger smile on my face than a market. A whole corner of my brain is dedicated to memories of favorite markets — Palermo, Sicily; Schlesiches Tor, Berlin; Ft. Pierce, Florida; La Herradura, El Salvador; Papeete, Tahiti; so many others. Wherever we go I seek out the local markets, not just for the freshest produce but for the Cliff Notes on local culture through street food, music, dry goods or housewares on offer, crafts, ethnic influences and traditions. City markets that have been around for decades especially paint a picture of a community better than any guidebook can do.
Our second trip to Melbourne is as brief as our first but we squeezed in a must-do early on the day we planned for the Australian Open tennis tournament. The Queen Victoria Market has been in existence since at least the mid 19th century and today boasts of being the largest market in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s massive, a collection of indoor and outdoor spaces with hundreds of stalls. The older part, the indoor area that includes vendors of fish, meat, dairy, bakers and confectioners and specialty stores reminded us of a more upscale version of our beloved Reading Terminal market in Center City Philadelphia.
The outdoor sheds offer everything from leather goods to toys to socks and underwear. And of course there is produce.
One of the shops put together picnic antipasto for the Open and Jack took advantage of that. We also bought grapes and bananas and bagels with Tilsit cheese for our day at Melbourne Park. As you can imagine, I could have stayed all day, but Roger and Rafa were waiting just a tram ride away.