A Trip to the Market

I’m known be many of my friends and family to be a thrifty shopper. I’m always looking for steals and bargains no matter where I am. Córdoba is no exception! Although I’m a little bummed I’ll be missing out on the flea market in Avon, NY every Sunday, I found a great alternative—el mercado de las pulgas (literally, “flea market”) here in Córdoba that takes place every Saturday and Sunday in the late afternoon—around 6:00pm is when it starts. Another great thing is that it goes on year-round!

When I was in Spain, I would go to the Rastro in Madrid every now and then, which is also a flea market of sorts. I’m sorry, Spain, but Argentina has you beat on this one. Here’s why:

The Rastro was just too…touristy. I had such a hard time finding gifts because almost every stand had the same thing and almost nothing was homemade!! In fact, a lot of the merchandise was mass-produced junk from China. If I wanted stuff made in China, I would order it from an Oriental Trading catalog in the States, thank you very much!

Also, the Rastro was so darn crowded. Yeah, there were many people at this market too, but there was more space to walk around between stands.

The variety at this market was breathtaking too. Every stand had their own unique goods to share at prices that couldn’t be beat. One of them could be hand-painted/casted mugs, another hand-carved mate gourds. Turn the corner and there’s fresh baked pastries, breads and jams. Continue on and there’s jewelry, fine leather goods (Parks & Rec reference), and homespun tapestries. There were original paintings and drawings too, each one with their own unique twist. I never grew bored!!

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Street food and snacks.

One stand particularly caught my attention. An artist whose works resembled a conglomerate of Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss applied his art to post cards, little story books, coloring books, magnets and much more! I got a few postcards with no intention to send, simply because they were so unique and striking. These cards also had whimsical and wise sayings on them in Spanish. I hung them above my oven for a little splash of color and optimism.

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A little sample of his artwork in the form of magnets on my fridge!

The people here were also super friendly and willing to talk with you. I met the man who carved my mate and he explained the process to me and described his unique way of carving bombillas. One guy who made jewelry was a riot. He said to my friend and I, in English but with a Spanish accent, “Never trust…a Latin lover”. Priceless.

I plan on returning here again and again to purchase more souvenirs and gifts for loved ones back home.

Here are some more of the items I found!!

This key chain (llavero), is made out of a real walnut shell and glazed with some sort of shellac. Inside is the stone of Argentina, which was mined from Catamarca, Argentina. Rhodochrosite (in Spanish, “rodocrosita”) was believed by the Incas to be the blood of their former rulers, turned to stone, therefore it is sometimes called “Rosa del Inca” or “Inca Rose”. How’s that for unique!

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How nifty!!

This tango painting is original and one of the few more I’ll be purchasing from the talented artist I met at the market. I hung it on my wall to add some spice to my kitchen!

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Mates: Okay, so I’m going a little crazy with the mates. I’ve already bought…um…a few, and I haven’t even been here two weeks. The one on the right is the hand-carved one I mentioned previously, and even the straw is hand-carved! The one on the left is also hand-carved, but it looks a little more typical of the region. When one thinks of mates, this is what usually comes to mind. It even has an Argentine coin on the front with the sun! A nice finishing touch indeed!

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I wanted to buy everything from this stand because it was all so pretty!! This mug represents a slice of the colorful ceramic options one stand offered. They had basically everything—plates, bowls, casserole dishes, you name it, all hand-painted and glazed to perfection. I could tell that even the items themselves were forged out of clay by the same people because the bottom, which was unpainted, was plain white clay and had a rough texture. They didn’t just go buy some cheap white mugs at a dollar store and paint them. They made these from start to finish!

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I will drink coffee out of this EVERY DAY.

One woman was selling her homemade jams, and I had never had fig jam but thought it sounded decadent and fancy so I got it. I like figs and fig newtons anyway, so I’m sure I’ll like this. I might put it on toast or something sometime.

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Homemade bread: this one is self-explanatory. The guy who made this had an array of other options, but I just got this to slice up with some dulce de leche…which by the way was a delightful combination!

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Homemade bread: this one is self-explanatory. The guy who made this had an array of other options, but I just got this to slice up with some dulce de leche…which by the way was a delightful combination!

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Magnets: One artist was selling little magnets with cheerful phrases and bright colors and details. I got these two!

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Remember the other artist I was telling you about—you know, Dr. Burton? These are the postcards I bought from him: (Sorry the writing is kinda hard to see!)

postcards

I even got a clay pot to store my yerba herb for tea! I couldn’t resist—it was so darn pretty! At the same stand, there were other items of this design as well, like sugar pots mugs, plates, serving dishes, etc. I went with this!

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I’m obsessed.

Leather items: At one stand, there was a girl who was selling small trinket items made of leather. I chose these two bracelets and a pretty little heart llavero (remember that word from earlier?!).

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There was another stand selling leather bags and belts too, which were also tempting. Maybe another day!

If you ever get a chance to go to Córdoba, you simply MUST carve out a sliver of time in your schedule to visit this market. You will undoubtedly find some treasures to take home and share—or not share! And I can promise you will not regret the visit.

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