Where the Brits have their car-boot sales, the Germans have their flea markets or ‚Flohmarkt‘. Also known as a ‚Trödelmarkt‘ which I prefer. I’m not sure where the word stems from, but I like the fact that the verb ‚trödeln‘ means to dally or dawdle which I think pretty much sums up the approach to a day at a flea market. They seem to be everywhere. Not quite the chic, slightly commercialised coolness of London’s Portobello or Spitalfields market, but more akin to its car-boot sale compatriot, with a low-key, relaxed atmosphere where you never know what you might find. The nearby city of Wuppertal actually boasts the world’s largest flea-market, where more than 250,000 people descend once-yearly every September, and yet most people have probably never heard of it.
Visiting flea markets is on my list of ‚things-I- like-doing-but-do-not-find-the-time-for‘. All the more rewarding then to stumble upon a wonderful night-time flea-market in my own city.
Arriving there felt almost like entering the East end of London. And ‚trödelling‘ was even more fun with a beer in the hand and accompanied by tunes from a pretty good rock band.
Aside from the flea-market, the event in an old factory turned out to be a mixture of music, exhibition space and performance art. I found some amazing vintage pieces for such a bargain price that I had to ask why they were being sold. ‚There are reasons why you want to let things go“, I was told. And then she promptly turned to her friend and said „well, that was the last piece of him“. I wonder what the sad story behind my loot is. This only adds to my love of finding second-hand treasures. Let’s hope my purchases have a happier ending though.