I posted a few days ago on my Instagram stories about a flea market I went to in Berlin. I enjoy thrifting. It's the best kind of shopping I've done while travelling. Nothing beats the unexpectedly authentic and eccentric finds at the flea market. The flea market, also known as 'Pasar Karat' in Malaysia, offers the best of both worlds: the item and the story that goes with it.
As promised on Instagram, I'm sharing my favourite flea market spots in Berlin with you. Every weekend, these two are my go-tos. Make your way around and look for something – you might not need – until you see it. That is the allure of a flea market. Knowing that it has been used for years and passed from one owner to another, the items you will come across will undoubtedly be nostalgic and hold many memories. Even haunted, just kidding!
Have a good time, new owners.
1. The best flea market is in Tiergarten Park. Some claim that it is the original Berlin flea and thrift market. You may find everything there, from rugs to kitchen equipment to delicate crystal goods, when it opens on the weekend. Before making a purchase, take your time and explore the area. Bargaining is allowed, but be reasonable. Some items can be very expensive, so knowing a little bit about what you want to buy can be beneficial. If you are not sure, kindly ask. After all it is your money to be spent.
I went there around 8:30 a.m. to avoid the brunch crowd. It was drizzly that morning, but not too bad. While browsing, I always have my to-go coffee. It adds to the excitement of my flea market shopping. Caffein definitely helps.
I should mention that I'm a sucker for rugs. Iranian kilims, carpets with low or high piles - Afghan, Moroccan, Turkish - you name it. I like tribal and geometric patterns that tell the maker's story. Also, warm tones are always preferred. Something bright maroon, deep ochre, or a slight yellow hue. Rugs, in my opinion, are the visual focal point of any home or space. So choose something that can draw your attention to it. Certainly not too loud.
My advice is to select rugs that reflect your personality. Something that is resonate to your story. Something you can be proud of to show your visitors when they enter your sanctuary. That's how I choose for #kerolhome.
2. Boxhagener Platz is the most authentic Berlin flea market. The market, also known as Boxy, is filled with everything you can imagine - furniture and lamps, leather jackets and silk scarves, scout badges and vintage briefcases, vinyl and cassettes- basically anything. Personally, I wouldn't say it's the cheapest flea market to shop at, but you might come across something unusual and antique that's worth your Euro. Take your time and look around. During the day, it can be very crowded (I mean very crowded). So plan your travel times accordingly.
Boxhagener's selection of mid-century and retro furniture is my personal favourite. Everything looks great, from the sofa to the stool, bed frame, and communal dining table. They are all in good condition as well.
Boxhagener is a great place to hang out with friends or just have a drink afterward. The neighbourhood is scattered with hip cafes. Simply walking will lead you to a cafe that suits your tastes. There are some street performances while you eat your currywurst or ice cream at the market. If you're a self-professed hipster with wicked style or cool and coloured haircuts and tattoos or piercings, or if you have the rarest tote bag you use to carry your vegetables from the morning market you did earlier that day, please don't be shy about flaunting it. We already know you're a vegan *inside jokes*.
You might find your next favourite vintage shirt at Boxy and spend the entire day bragging about it. Speaking for myself, YES!
I need to ask you a quick favour. Moving forward, the Musotrees newsletter will focus on storytelling. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this newsletter. Suggestions are always welcome. Your opinions will be greatly appreciated. If you don't mind, please respond to this newsletter and share your thoughts. Alternatively, you can use the message box below to leave a comment.
PS. Krish (a Musotrees contributor) and I talked about the new Amazon Prime show yesterday. Modern Love Mumbai. One short narrative set in Mumbai and Thane had us both interested right away. The narrative path does fit with Krish's stories in The Lost Issue. It is incredible how travel unites us all. Mumbai, I'll see you soon.