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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Feria Libre

Feria Libre (Feh- ree-uh Lee-bray) (don't forget to roll your r's a smidge) is the largest 'Free Fair' (as it is translated) or 'Free Market' in the Cuenca area.   There are at least 6 in Cuenca and they usually entail a mix of indoor (under a roof) and open-air vendors.  They all sell a myriad of fruits and vegetables, along with seafood, beef, pork, and chicken.   On top of that are usually spices, grains, eggs, clothes, household needs (ie; cooking oil, TP, utensils, etc), entertainment (ie; music cd's, movie dvd's), and even personal items (ie; perfumes, deodorants, shampoo).

Feria Libre is the largest of all of them, just think MORE of all that stuff plus live chickens, guinea pigs, kittens, puppies, turkeys, ducks, geese, bras, panties (I know, I know, I broke the chain of thought), roasted pigs, flowers, curtains, cookware, plasticware, and on and on and on.

I don't know, technically, how much acreage the Feria Libre covers, but just think of what 'The Donald' Trump says...it's "HUH YUGE"!!!  Wednesdays are THE day.  The entire parking lot is taken over by outdoor vendor stalls, primarily of clothes, shoes, cortinas (curtains)...that kinda stuff.   Busses from outlying towns and villages bring residents in to do their weekly shopping.   Most everyone have their own shopping bags to load up and haul back home.    Flatbed carts (a la Costco) are available near the exit point, along with men to push them, to load up and take the goods to the cars or busses for a tip.

It's a zoo, putting it mildly.  It's a maze (no, not maize), putting it mildly.  If you're tall (that is, over 5' 9") watch your head and/or neck as you might get strung up by the myriad of ropes routed overhead to support tarps should the rains swoop in....and THEY DO.  

It's just mind-boggling when you see the inventory there.  You have to wonder...how do they sell ALL THIS?  Tons (literally) of sacks of potatoes stacked everywhere.   Juice oranges in piles that look like a dump truck pulled up and emptied out.   More giant sacks of garlic cloves than you EVER will need to see again.  Mountains of bananas, hundreds of 50 lb (or more) sacks of grains, etc etc...how do they ever sell what's at the BOTTOM??   My analytical mind is being stretched.   Tons and tons of apples, mangos, carrots, corn, peas, tomatoes, and things I have no clue what they are.  Thousands of fish of all different kinds I've never heard of, small shrimp, medium shrimp, large shrimp, peeled, with the heads.  Geez!!   Clothing, shoes, cookware, sunglasses, dvd's....I get it...they don't spoil.   But.....BUT.....ARRRRGHHHH....GET ME OUTA HERE!!!!

Here's some photos to help you 'get the picture'....

I haven't a clue.  But, they are 2-3 ft in length, and 6-8 inches wide.  The look like Land of the Giants pea or bean pods.

Duckies....oh, wait....Chickies in there, too.

Puppies (waaaay too many if you ask me)  SPAY!!  NEUTER!!!


Gooses and Gooslings...wait a minute...what is a rooster doing in there?

Mountains of juice oranges (typically 20 for a buck)

Just one part of the 'indoor' area.

Stalls after stalls like this.  What I want to know is....how do they keep those fishies staying where they are?  If I tried that, they'd be slippin off and all over the floor!!!!

Sacks of garlic cloves.

You can buy apples by the case, or by the piece, or pre-packaged.

Sacks of cereals.

Plasticware, utensils, cookware.

General household basics.

Beef, anyone?

Clothes up the wazoo.  You can even get a haircut at the Feria Libre!!

4 sizes of eggs here.   In the basket are 'regular' eggs, then larger ones I don't know where they come from, and then the ones that really must hurt coming out!!!   Notice, to the left are small eggs in a plastic carton...about the size of a malt-ball.

Cortinas (curtains)


Zapatos (shoes)

This is where I get all my bras and panties....NOT!!!

Where I get a lot of my plants and roses.....TRUE!!!!


  1. Small eggs are quail eggs. The bigger ones are duck and geese eggs.

  2. Hey Dano,
    Nice pictures! the first one is a fruit called Pacay, pronounced pah-KHAI. it has white flesh with black seeds.

    The large egg is from a Piyu, a bird related to an ostrich.


  3. Thanks for the description at the beginning, the photos and their accompanying commentary. I'm learning a lot about Cuenca.

  4. Try the giant pea. It's a kind of fruit and maybe you'll like it, it's sweet. The popular name is "guaba" not "guayabas" (guava the passion fruit). Maybe this uncommon fruit is gonna dissapear.

  5. Hola Dano;

    Great article, I just returned from an exploratory trip to Cuenca, planning to move there sometime in 2012.

    Feliz Navidad
    Mike Edwards

  6. I've read alot about DVD's but have you seen PS2 and Wii games disc?

  7. To be honest, no I haven't, but that's because i never look for them. I know a couple in Salinas who play Wii games so I'm pretty confident they are available. I do see lots of games at the places that sell videos, i just don't pay attention to what format they are.


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Palma, Mallorca, Spain
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Spain, in the city of Palma on the island of Mallorca in the middle of the Mediterranean sea!! I moved from the USA to Cuenca, Ecuador, South America and lived there for 7 years before moving here to Spain in early 2018. To read about my adventures in Ecuador, check out my other blog "Ahhh Cuenca!!". I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live in Europe....across the pond.

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