My sister in law and I visited the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem while we were in Israel. Right down the street from our hotel, the Lev Yerushalayim, we could walk there in less than 10 minutes. It is a fascinating market place crammed with fresh fruit, vegetables, oils, nuts, spices, sweets, meat, cheese - "just about anything grown from or picked from the Israeli soil." (Lonely Planet, Israel and the Palestinian Territories). The smells are amazing: cinnamon, pesto, paprika, coffee, fish - you feel you are in an exotic alternate universe! If you're hungry (when are we not?) you can chose from a number of restaurants. You can also find shops that sell non food items. I stepped in one tiny establishment that was not much bigger than my bathroom at home. It was stifling hot, in October no less. What must it be like in the summer?
We were a bit early the day we were there, so the vendors were just setting up. On my next trip, I will make a point to go in the early afternoon on Friday. In Israel, and especially in Jerusalem, Friday afternoons must be experienced. We were in Mea She'arim, an intensely Orthodox community in Jerusalem, around 2 pm just before Shabbat. It was crazy with activity; folks getting their business done before shutting down for the Sabbath. . I am truly in awe of the devotion and dedication of the people who live in this fascinating community.