I’ve been traveling so much lately that I haven’t had many weekends in Cork, the place where I’m actually living. I just had the best morning in my charming little city. I’m taking an Irish (Gaelic) speaking class and the wonderfully eccentric professor, Claire, loves telling us about the hidden gems of Cork that you wouldn’t find in a guide book. I have resisted her persistent suggestion to join a rowing club that she was a part of for 20 years (way too cold for that), however I did take note of the farmers’ market that she was raving about one day. The Coal Quay Food Market is barely advertised anywhere in town or online, it has just become a weekly tradition that the locals somehow know exists. As with many things in Ireland, there is no definitive end time, it goes from 8:30am until…..whenever it gets dark I suppose. The market was definitely modest, but that was what made it so great. Walking through the stands, you could tell that many of the customers were regulars and knew most of the suppliers by name and in some cases their entire life stories. The selection of samples were delicious. I tried berry cheesecake, goat cheese, spicy apple chutney, and clementines. I was eyeing a jar of pear & vanilla jam and even though it wasn’t on sale, the woman let me try it and gave me a list of other pear recipes. I finally settled on purchasing a butternut squash, goat cheese, and spinach pie and an asiago cheese pretzel. Both were wise choices. The pie man let me pick if I wanted the very browned pie or the one with the lighter crust. My friend Hannah went for a chai latte from a coffee cart and we met the sweetest Irish woman. She has lived everywhere from Ireland to Peru to Arizona and was so eager to tell us more fun things to do in Cork. Apparently there is a Christmas fair coming up and a craft market and tons of pretty walks by the river. After the farmers’ market we went to a hot chocolate place that I’ve been meaning to try since we got here. I had white hot chocolate with espresso and it was excellent.