Today we did one of my favorite things in the whole, wide, foodie world; we went to the San Benedetto fish market in Cagliari, Sardinia. It’s a thriving market, teeming with fish and people with money to exchange for them. A huge variety of sea creatures is on display, some quite scary. There’s also something that’s missing in lots of other markets, especially those in tourist zones: folks are friendly. They mug for you. They hold up the prettiest, most colorful octopus for the guy with the camera. The atmosphere made for some very nice video, from the fish vendors to the woman who made the fregula. (And just in case you’re wondering, there was only the smell of the sea—nothing fishy about the fish market in Cagliari, I can tell you. You’ve never seen fish so fresh unless you work on a fishing boat.)
And I might remind you, this is a fish-crazy town. Last night I feasted on a sea urchin pizza. Mmmm. You don’t get that at Dominos.
Too many years have passed since I last visited Cagliari. The archaeological museum has moved out of its old home and into a new(ish) archaeological park. It used to be an incredibly disorganized mish-mash of stuff excavated from everywhere. Students shunned the old dimly lit cave as a place of study. But things have changed. Yesterday we had a very pleasant visit to the new museum. It has a ways to go before it’s world class, but what an improvement! If only it didn’t take a couple of minutes of gyration as if you were having a conniption fit while twirling an imaginary hula hoop around your ample midsection in order to turn on the motion-activated lights in each room. But who could complain about good exercise?
The new museum lacked a bookstore, too Why, I hear you ask? Well, it’s due to a new law that actually bans bookstores from museums with fewer than 100,000 visitors. And what’s the purpose for this new and incomprehensible law? I asked around. Nobody could tell me.
Sardinia was the place where I first learned the uber-useful word “boh.” Yes, boh is a brilliant combination of all the emotions one might feel when one just can’t make sense of anything and has given up caring, all rolled into a single syllable.
So…why can’t lightly subscribed museums have volunteer-run bookstores to give the tourist something tangible to read on the train and think about, not to mention possibly giving them inspiration to come back and visit the numerous and interesting sites reflecting the history of this fascinating island?
All together now, with that characteristic Sardinian shrug for extra credit….“Boh”
A tip of the hat goes out to our guide on this trip, the fantastic Sardinia Guide Paola Loi, who explained everything about the fish and the people who sold them. Without Paola, this Video of the Market wouldn’t have been nearly as compelling.
And please, the happy folks at the market are making a living. Be respectful of that fact and give room to people selling and buying seafood or these wonderful markets will not flourish and someday will die, like the fish market in Venice, which is currently on life support.