Hunting and Gathering – A Walk to Centro Market in Praiano for Food (in Pictures)

Fierce winds roared all night. A door somewhere banged, whipped to and fro in the gale. Dawn’s pale light showed no signs of the frenzy letting up, but I was out of food. Regardless of the morning weather report: 21 mph winds and 40°F (4°C) my hunter-gatherer instinct kicked in.

Bundled head to toe like an Arctic explorer, I set out. At least it wasn’t raining.

Centro Market – eight minute walk, said Google. Liar. The hike on Praiano’s zig-zaggy roads was uphill all the way and took a good thirty minutes as I battled gusts that blew me sideways. Never trust Google. Nonetheless, it felt good to be outside after a couple of days hibernating.

I set out with my camera charged and ready. Remember the 112 steps? They’re arranged in six separate flights of varying lengths. As I rounded the corner on my way to flight number 4, I wondered how I could not have noticed this panorama before. After all, I’d gone down these steps my first day in Italy. I must have been watching my feet.

Entrance gates to houses somewhere on the cliffs above and below march along both sides of this road. This one looks a bit like a door to nowhere!

Ceramic arts are an ancient tradition of the Amalfi Coast dating back six hundred years. Evidence of this craft is everywhere. Here’s a whimsical fruit display on a humble concrete planter.

Houses tumble down mountainsides piled one atop another looking for all the world like a naughty child dumped a box of all-white Legos. During high season, parked cars line the side of the road while tourists dine and browse the shops.

Until I was about half a block from the market, I always had a view of the sea with wind that seemed to come from every direction.

A white wrought iron door and round window give this entrance to another family home a dressed-up look.

What appears to be just a wall along the street suddenly has a window. It must be a storage room of sorts as boxes are stacked inside. The boxes dampened the romance a bit – otherwise such a lovely window…

An open gate afforded another glimpse up a daunting stairway.

Finally I arrived at my destination and couldn’t take a photo of the market because a very large, very scruffy Italian man was standing in the doorway – right in the doorway! When he realized I was coming there to shop and I needed to get inside to do that, he moved. As soon as I was in, he took up his doorway post again. So I borrowed a photo from the internet to give you an idea of Centro Market in Praiano.

The owners appeared to be husband and wife and spoke no English. Since I don’t know shopping protocol for small-town Italy, I spent the first few minutes perusing the shelves of goods lining the walls. There were apples and bananas, lemons and oranges, garlic and onions, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes, but that was about it for fresh produce. I found toothpaste but it was behind glass doors. Baguettes and cheese were plentiful. I couldn’t find eggs or olive oil. Those darned elusive eggs!

I smiled and nodded at the woman and she came from behind the counter. I pointed at tomatoes and held up three fingers. She looked confused. Oh dear. I pointed again, picked up three of them and said, “Caprese.” The lights went on. She took them and put them on the counter. We were in business. I pointed to the other things I needed and she collected them. Then I said, “Olive oil?” Blank look. “Oil?” Ah! Yes, on the top shelf which neither one of us could reach. She got a ladder. That left only eggs. Somehow she understood eggs.

By now we were good chums. Her husband tallied the bill (both in Euro and Lira) and pointed to the amount in Euro. I was surprised that it was even less than I paid for half as many items at the teensy-tiny market closer to me. The signora started to grab a plastic bag. I opened my backpack and said, “Per favore.” I held it and she packed.

The transaction finished, I thanked them and started out of the shop. Signora waved to me, flashed a big smile and said, “Bye, bye.”

People are great! I never take a gruff exterior for the real deal. A smile, a bit of humility, patience, and the crustiest soul can usually be won…even if you don’t share the same language. I love people!

As I started home I glanced to the side and saw classical David, and Venus minus her clamshell standing in a parking area staring out to sea. Only in Italy!

Finally I’m back at my own blue gate that opens into a vestibule with a niche to the Virgin Mary and tiny landscapes painted directly on the plaster wall.

Then it’s up the stairs. Here they are – my six flights!

Ceramic tiles embedded in the walls add a bit of whimsy and entertainment for the long climb.

There are five different residences staggered along the way and I’m at the top. I check my phone – ha! Google was half right – eight minutes – downhill.

Home at last, I kick off my new walking shoes. My feet have worn nothing but flip-flops for eight years and they’re letting me know they’re not happy. I pull off my coat and glance in the mirror.

I survived the cyclone. My mission’s accomplished. Food! At least for a few more days!

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda Glascock
    Feb 07, 2020 @ 03:40:40

    Love the pictures! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

    Like

    Reply

  2. stevecastley
    Feb 07, 2020 @ 04:33:47

    Brrrrr. 4 degrees!!!! But it all looks glorious. Thanks for sharing. Keep having fun. Hugs.

    Like

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Feb 07, 2020 @ 13:20:11

      It’s invigorating, that’s for sure! But it isn’t like Minnesota cold. When I put on a jacket here, it actually keeps me warm – could stay out all day.
      Quite a change, though, from the last few months of Bali weather.

      Like

      Reply

  3. sageblessings
    Feb 07, 2020 @ 07:28:39

    Love love love the photos, o. Purse. Also all the delightful art along your walk. My fake knees hurt looking at the stairs!! Keep posting. I love it.

    Like

    Reply

  4. sageblessings
    Feb 07, 2020 @ 10:02:11

    That was “of course” not o purse. Stupid auto correct😩

    Like

    Reply

  5. Carol
    Feb 07, 2020 @ 10:17:29

    Love your Italian adventure.

    Like

    Reply

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