Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday in Berlin: Flohmarkt am Boxhagener Platz

Today I was up early (for me, especially for a Sunday!) as I accompanied my friend Kelly to the airport (a little sad to see her go, but many happy memories of hanging out together for 10 days in Berlin). so I decided to hit a fleamarket. I'd planned ahead for this adventure, so after seeing her off, I headed to the Flohmarkt am Boxhagener Platz. Once I got off the S-Bahn, I was unsure where to go, so a kiosk seller pointed me in the right direction. As I got closer, I needed more directions, and ended up walking with a young German man and woman who were headed the same way. He'd tried to explain, then said I could walk with them. He has been in Berlin for a year, having come from a small village in southern Germany. His next travel plans? Canada! I thought that was an interesting coincidence! His friend, the girl, was just visiting for the weekend and were meeting another friend who hadn't put in an appearance yet... ah, Sunday mornings....
I spent a total 13.50E and here's what I got for my money.... This item was my top find, it was 2 sets of Bavarian playing cards. Totally cool (click the pic to see an enlarged view). What you see here is the ace of each suit plus one other card. They are for a special German card game, hence the special decoration. I totally scored with this cool purchase for 2E. One of my top treasures on my trip!
I needed a scarf, having lost the pashmina I'd picked up in Venice (for a whole 5E), so was on the hunt, saw lots, but nothing grabbed me as special. Until I saw the teensiest little booth with knitted gloves, arm warmers, leg warmers, hats and scarves. I asked the very neat older German woman if she'd knitted them herself, and after a translation consultation with the adjacent vendor it was confirmed, yes she did. This is the one I picked out. Much heavier than I'd planned, but lovingly made, sweet imperfections and made of the warmest wool. I happily paid her 5E asking price. When I went to wrap it around my neck, she smiled and shook her head, and proceeded to wrap it properly around my neck. Interestingly, it was twice as warm the way she wrapped it. It does get cold in Germany so she knew her stuff. Another score that I will treasure.
I also needed a new small backpack. Flying on the discount airlines in Europe, you need to keep your checked luggage weight down, so I was using a little daypack I'd brought with me as my carry-on, but it was a a bit too small. So I'd decided to shop for one. And who needs new? I was eyeing a few bags throughout the market, but saw nothing, until I came on this one. What is the price I asked? 4E. As I was inspecting it, one of the 2 young lads offered me the one off his back for 7E, much better quality he said, and proceeded to empty it. Spent some time checking them both out, but this was a bit larger and I liked the Levi Strauss kitchiness of it. They seemed a touch disappointed so I gave them their full amount. Turns out the two of them - probably 10 years old - bring a few wares to the market most weekends. We chatted for a bit and I told them they had very good English, which was true. Such nice young gentleman, they asked how I liked Berlin and seemed very happy when I told them it was a very cool city.
I have been dying to do a jigsaw puzzle for awhile, so I picked up this one for 1.50E. After I'm done with it, it will be donated to the apartment where I am staying. Wouldn't have been my first choice for a puzzle, but in retrospect it is kind of cute, and I'm sure will give me much amusement in my final weeks here....
Bought this cute little tin for 1E as a gift for my sister (just killed the surprise factor, didn't I?), lol....
Sooo, those were my treasures. Here are a few other interesting pics I took while I was there. This wasn't for sale, but I thought it was nifty: a little girl carrying her wooden bicycle:
Isn't he cute? This dog was keeping himself warm lying on a blanket-covered dolly, and cuddling with his teddy bear (you might have to click to see the enlarged version to spot it). When I said hello, he stood up and wagged his tail, so I had a nice little visit, he got some pets, then he went back to his bear buddy. Had a fun conversation with the friend of the owner's who was watching him. Really, everyone is so friendly here!
Another dog, but I didn't get to meet him. There were lots of accordians on sale, as well as violins, electrical gear (much of it seemingly ancient), books, clothing, dishes, fishing gear, pictures, furniture, you name it...
This was really cool. I asked the vendor about it, and he said it was from the 20's. He called it a doll, but it looks like a mannequin to me. I did not ask the price, and he laughed when I said I was a tourist; so obvious that I couldn't take it with me! But he was kind enough to let me take a decent picture of it.
Oh, speaking of mannequins, it is so cold here, that even the mannequins wear hats!!
When I was done my full circuit of the market, which surrounded a park the size of full city block, I headed for coffee at one of the half-dozen cute little spots across the street.
Too bad I wasn't hungry, they were serving an awesome breakfast buffet here. But my latte hit the spot and didn't break the bank for 2.50E. Yum.
Oops, a couple more pics.... (it is hard to get blog pics in the order I want, and I am too lazy to go back and fix it up!). Thought this was interesting, a bin of old coins and bills that aren't in circulation anymore. I tried to ask what the currency of the bills was, but they couldn't understand what I was asking. I was tempted to get a bit anyways, but knowing what you buy makes it more interesting, and I wasn't up to trying to figure it out online. Maybe I'll see more at another market next Sunday....
There was a girl selling some clever jewellry made out of old computer and typewriter keyboard keys. Especially fun were the ones that said "Esc" or "Del" ;-)
And, finally, there was tons of vinyl LPs amongst all the CDs and tapes. I can't remember when I last saw a 45!
So, that was my day... There are numerous flohmarkets (fleamarkets) in Berlin. Most operate both Saturday and Sunday. I have previously visited the Museum Island market - where I saw gas masks and other varied army gear - but it has more new than old and is geared towards tourists. I was attracted to Flohmarkt am Boxhagener Platz because it is off the beaten track, is geared to a student's wallet and has more Eastern Bloc kitch ("ostalgie") and small vendors, including people who cleared out their closets the night before. Both markets I have visited so far had food stands where you could get an awesome sausage in a bun for cheap, and make a visit to the local cafe afterwards. It's a cool way to spend a few hours here.


Anonymous said...

So lovely to join you for a Sunday adventure in Berlin... much fun,great photos and story !
~ T.

Anonymous said...

Jeannie ~ Great to see Berlin and your bargain hunting too !!!