Each year, just before the snow arrives, the town of Svidnik in North Eastern Slovakia hosts a winter market. People come from all over the area to buy winter clothes, toys and utensils, and also to eat the grilled meat, langos and sausages being sold, or to drink the beer or honey wine. Years back, the market was vital but now there are shopping centres and the internet it’s lost its attraction. The smell of roasting meat fills the air though and it makes you feel very hungry. I bought a nice heavy wool jumper today. I wanted to buy a knife but they didn’t have what I was looking for. The stand in the photo sells home-carved spoons. Many of the stallholders make their fare at home and come to sell it at the market. This man was offering 3 wooden spoons for 1 Euro! There were also wicker baskets for eggs or mushroom picking, Russian matrioska dolls, fur hats, hides and sheepskins, all alongside Chinese plastic toys or acrylic clothing. It’s nice to see some traditional skills still surviving, but for how long?
Today we went to the town of Krosno in South east Poland to do some shopping. Years back, the large open air market there was the only place locally to buy clothes, cheap food and other stuff, even though it’s in a different country. In return, the Poles from that area would come to Svidnik in North East Slovakia to buy alcohol and cigarettes. Now with globalisation and Internet shopping, everything’s changed and the market is just endless stalls all selling the same clothes and foot ware at the same prices.
I remember the overwhelming emotion in Poland when Pope John Paul the Second died. The entire country went into mourning.