Berlin is known for its flea markets (flohmarkts) which offer everything from antiques, handmade goods, clothing, ceramics, and much, much more. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning is to head to a market with my coffee in hand, searching for treasures. This weekend I met my colleagues Toma The Antiques Diva and Barbara Co-Founder of Beba Berlin Agentur at the Straße des 17.Juni which is a fantastic antiques market near the Tiergarten.
As we enter the first of two long rows of stands, I notice immediately a booth filled with candleabra of all shapes and sizes. I wonder if a pair of them would fit in my luggage? We stroll on, stopping to examine an antique necklace or to caress a soft Belgian linen tablecloth. I spot a beautiful inkwell with a stag's head on it, but alas it is more than I want to pay. Determined to come away with at least one treasure, I narrow my focus and begin scanning the tables for small tabletop pieces. I happily come upon a pair of silver fox knife-rests and after bargaining in my broken German with the vendor, come away with my first purchase of the day. Knowing that once I have that first buy under my belt, I'm likely to find more things, I carry on with a renewed bounce in my step.
Barbara spies a box of chandelier pieces and pulls out the perfect round crystal that will complete her chandelier at home. Apparently it's been missing the round crystal ball that finishes it off in the center, so she is quite pleased to pay only a few Euro for this misfit piece. Toma calls me over to see some geodes, as I remarked on a beautiful amethyst in her apartment earlier this week. As she purchases a lovely quartz, I negotiate a fantastic price for the amethyst this jovial dealer is offering.
About half-way down the second aisle, Toma finds perhaps the best deal in the entire market-- antique German hotel silver at a price which is a fraction of its value. As she sifts through stacks of perfectly patinated silver trays and selects six of the best which will grace her next dinner party table, I find a tray for myself which has the hotel markings on it and as we purchase this entire lot, the vendor makes us an even better deal. High-fiving, we move down the remainder of the row, very pleased with our finds.
Still on a high from scoring such great deals, our trio decides to head to a keramik trödelmarkt (ceramic flea market) which is being held at the Ceramic Museum this weekend only. First, however, we meet Barbara's husband and daughter for a lunch al fresco, as it is a gorgeous spring day. Once we arrive at the museum, we make our way to the charming courtyard, with its vines growing up the ancient walls and a soft hum of quiet conversations. Every type of language can be heard as we pass from table to table, carefully inspecting pieces of ceramics, both vintage and new.
I spy an antique white urn that is very much my style, but with its delicate handles, I don't want to risk packing it in my suitcase and I don't want to pay to have it shipped. Toma points out an old German orange marmalade container and tells me that these are quite collectable. It's so charming and it would be perfect for holding flowers in the kitchen. I decide to get it and the old German vendor with a very kind face gives me a better price without me even asking.
The shopping gods were certainly smiling on us this Pentacost weekend. With gorgeous weather, plenty of beautiful pieces at good prices, and good food & beer, we came away with not only loot but also fun memories. Thank you Berlin!!!!