Lerwick’s first continental market was in full swing shortly after the stalls were set up under the Fort this morning, with customers browsing through colourful goods from far-flung places.
Market traders from all over the world showed their wares, with organiser Ali Yaich saying it was bringing “something different” to Shetland. Thailand carvings, dream catchers from Mexico, Italian biscuits, Moroccan and Italian leather handbags and Greek and Turkish sweets were all on sale, with customers buying briskly.
Mr Yaich said: “There are 20 nationalities from all over the world here, and more are coming tomorrow. They couldn’t all get on the ferry last night.” Tomorrow’s arrivals will include plants from Holland, Finnish crafts, German food and Kenyan carvings.
Food is a big part of any market, and besides olives and feta cheese this one had a stall selling exotics such as kangaroo and zebra burgers. The smells were enticing and the colours on neighbouring stalls brilliant, with green and orange fudge, Turkish delight in all hues, some coated in pistachio, and nuts coated in honey or chilli. “They’re beautiful, delicious, gorgeous”, said stall-holder Are Rahim, who is Kurdish and based in Manchester.
The Italian stall had nougat cakes in rainbow hues and delightful biscuits, some like tiny crescents, others like mini sausage rolls. Giovanni Zampieri, who is based in London and travels to markets throughout the UK said: “We go travelling to give people a taste of Italy, sometimes we achieve it.”
More Italian goods were on offer with leather handbags from £10 up to £80, with a one-off of red snakeskin and red and black feathers selling for £20. North African stall-holder Omar Samy travels to markets all over Scotland, and said: “I’m sure people will like this, it’s good stuff.”
First-time visitor Ravi Singh, who has a shop in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, was selling colourful fleeces which attracted a lot of attention, as did the Thai stall of Emma Thomson and Sanan Kalawong. The couple live in Thailand and everything on the stall, from cotton bags to incense, is made there. Very special are the buffalo-horn carved items, made by a village family which the couple support.
Ronald Olerte from Peru was showing colourful knitwear, jewellery and music, sourced from North and South America, and, in complete contrast, Tayce Lee was selling the “Amaze” brush for getting bobbles from knitwear.
Customers were clearly enjoying the market, which is in Shetland for a week. North Mainland shopper Ann Cairns said: “It would be great if we could have this all the time, other places have markets on Saturday and Sunday, it wouldn’t need to be continental stuff.” It would be especially good for cruise passengers, she said.
Shopper Damian Ristori said: “It’s a lovely thing to have here, hopefully they’ll do well and come back.”