Mercat de l´Olivar – Shopping and feasting in the land of milk and honey

Life isn´t about waiting for the storm to pass, it´s about learning how to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene

Finally I can use this proverb which has been one of my favourites for a long time. Maybe because I love to dance and by nature am rather optimistic. And maybe because I can’t stand rain, storms and all that comes with them. This proverb reminds me that it’s true, I can’t change the wet weather but I can change the way I look at it. So, from now on, instead of running from one shelter to the next, I will make it my business to dance in the rain. And I’m sure there’s no better place than Palma, in and around the Mercat d l´Olivar.

Well, in the Mercat itself you won´t have to dance in the rain because it’s Palma´s biggest covered market. However, for me it makes the perfect start to a rainy day in the island´s capital and I can still enjoy it. Because, let´s face it, even Majorca has some rainy days. But before you hole up in your room, isn´t it better to have a little feast at the numerous stands of fruits, vegetables, fish, tapas, wine…actually everything?

Not only does the Mercat de l´Olivar offer everything, but you will also find all kinds of select delicacies in abundance. Amazing mountains of strawberries are on display and one hall is dedicated entirely to countless varieties of fish. Whether you like it raw, freshly prepared or as sushi – I think even the most demanding fish aficionado will find what they are looking for. Not only is the fish plentiful…there are also people everywhere. Crowds of people flock down the aisles, admiring each and every stand, although for me, I must admit, they seem to sell much of the same everywhere. But the spectacle is definitely worth a visit, and even if it’s just for the biggest tunas you’ve ever seen (and no, what you see in the following picture is not one of them).

In the fruit and vegetable section you can feel a little like you’re in some German government office. Of course, it’s much more lively and colourful but, believe it or not, before you can buy anything, you have to take a number! Forget about just standing in line and waving in a friendly way to attract the vendor´s attention. They serve you strictly in order, so you had better allow for a bit of waiting time. But don´t worry, even waiting is more bearable than in any government office. And what you hold in your hands at the end is certainly as precious as a new ID-card. 

When you leave the Mercat de l´Olivar in no way has your shopping spree ended, quite the reverse. There is one shop after another around the market hall. Fine wines are sold right next to coffees from all over the world and wedding dresses are displayed next to olive oils and pies that are works of art. The selection of shops is definitely unusual but interesting.

A bit further on there is my favourite shopping street, Calle San Miguel, with its mixture of popular brands and small boutiques with an interlude of cosy cafés and ice cream parlours offering the fanciest home-made creations. One thing is for sure, an afternoon around the Mercat de l´Oliver will certainly not be a diet day. But don’t´we spend too much time counting calories anyway? At least I do. Just relax, indulge and enjoy.

What certainly makes dancing in the rain easier is the music from street musicians who are quite good (at least some of them) that follows you everywhere. And in this way I stroll through Palma´s pedestrian areas, shopping bags in one hand, ice cream in the other, with music in my ears and new pictures in my head – pictures that show that this city loses none of its beauty just because some grey clouds decide to send down a few drops of rain.

Every time I enjoy a day in Palma I discover something new. Whether it’s a café, a little street or just a new type of ice cream. I seem to always end up in different places. Palma´s liveliness is irresistible, in the market hall as much as in the streets, in any season and in all weathers. Palma makes sure I never stand still and get stuck in a routine. Palma is my recipe for a good mood on a rainy day.

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Welcome to the island of light! Majorca is a heaven on earth offering the very best of everything. With Mallorquissimo I will show you “my” island as I have come to know and love it over more than 18 years.

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