Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday morning at Berlin's Mauer Park Flea Market

I love the flea market at Mauer Park. It just screams Berlin to me. Hundreds of tents and umbrellas set up, selling everything from professional art to earrings to old DDR uniforms to china plates to cabinets to Turkish flatbread. Some stalls are just boxes of junk waiting to be sifted through, making you pause and wonder when your last tetanus shot was. Plus, there are more weirdos and hipsters than you can shake a stick at.

The location itself is quintessentially Berlin. Mauerpark, or "Wall Park" is located in what used to be the Death Strip of the Berlin Wall. It just seems so Berlin that they would take something with such an ugly history (and truth be told, a physically ugly location) and turn it into something that is now a park, flea market, outdoor concert area, and dog park. Berliners don't hide their past. They simply re-purpose it.

I have been to the flea market at Mauerpark probably a dozen times. It was a must do every time I visited friends in Berlin, and when Fionn and I were dating we loved browsing the stalls and whiling away the afternoon at a coffee shop afterwards. You never know what you'll find!

So, without further ado-here are some tips for visiting Mauerpark Flea Market!

If you're headed to the Mauerpark Flea Market, I think the easiest way to get there is by taking the U2 to Eberswalderstrasse. Follow the crowd as they turn right out of the subway station, walking along Eberswalderstrasse until you see the park (it's impossible to miss). You could also take the M10 tram to Wolliner Strasse.

Fuel up!
Sunday Brunch is a big deal in Berlin, and you can find tons of trendy coffeeshops and cafes in the area offering tasty brunch menus. Inside the Mauerpark area you can find all kinds of street food vendors selling delicious food. When Fionn and I were dating we'd gorge ourselves on delicious Turkish food made by friendly Turkish matrons and on all kinds of sweet treats from fresh plum cake to Lebanese coconut balls. You won't go hungry around these parts.

Tasty brunch treat from a nearby cafe

Cash is king
Some vendors take plastic, but cash will get you way farther (and will help you strike a deal!). Have small bills and coins on hand, since 50 euro notes and above won't be welcomed for small items.

Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather.
Not gonna lie, Mauerpark is kind of dirty. This is not the place for strappy sandals or flip flops. It's also completely outdoors, so if the forecast calls for rain, bring your raincoat!

Watch that camera
Most of the vendors do not like their stuff being photographed. They won't hesitate to put you in your place should you try.

Don't be afraid to haggle
Most of the vendors are willing to bargain with you. Try your luck!

Prepare for the unexpected
You could literally find anything here. Sometimes we've found treasures (like a vintage Barbour jacket) but it'll require some patience and sifting. That's part of the fun! This is an anything goes flea market-historical memorabilia, modern stuff, old lamps, furniture, vintage souvenir dolls...anything!

Get there early
Get started before 11! The market gets super crowded later in the day, and the narrow alleys can get claustrophobic. Plus, you miss all the good stuff!

The best stalls are further back
The things at the front are interesting, but the best stuff is deeper into the market. Keep walking!

If you get tired of the crowds, take a stroll through Mauerpark
Mauerpark is a nice green space. Like Berlin, it can be a little rough around the edges, but you're guaranteed to spot some characters. In the afternoons there's a karaoke contest at the "Bear pit", a stone amphitheater in the Mauerpark where I've actually seen some real talent.

So those are my tips? Are you willing to brave the craziness of Berlin's best loved flea market? :)

1 comment :

  1. That looks like a really interesting market! But really, it was your talk of brunch that appealed to me ;)
    It is really interesting how they tend to 'repurpose the past' - even here there's a park where an old Nazi prison used to be!