Flea markets are such an interesting slice of culture--to see what people save, sell, and value.
If you'd like to join me, let's take a walk through the flea market. The entry cost is 150 forint (about 75cents), but I'll pay your way today, so come along and let's go flea-marketing together.
It's hot today which makes the sites and sounds and smells even more concentrated. Those rich, thick, unfamiliar sounds you hear all around you are the Hungarian language--it's a strange-sounding language for English-speakers.
cheap and exquisite items share the same tables: worn toys, costume jewelry, antique glass...
A table of miniature books. If you'd like to know why these are common in Hungary, read below.
"During part of the twentieth Century, Hungary was the leading producer of miniature books in the world, and substantial production of miniatures also occurred in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. The Communist influence had two very important effects. State supported publishers were able to issue books which otherwise could never have been published commercially. However, political considerations also influenced what was published, with a large number of political works appearing alongside exquisitely designed, printed, and bound volumes of national literature, history and art." 4000 Years of Miniature Books
And a former communist country's flea market is not complete without Communist paraphernalia like these busts of Lenin.
One is sarcastically wrapped in a red scarf.
That's because red scarves were worn by children in Pioneer Clubs, (clubs used to indoctrinate young people in Communist philosophy).
Do you know why they call flea markets flea markets?
No one is sure, but it's believed that it may have started at a French second-hand market that was known to sell items infested with fleas.
Flea markets are such a mishmash of items...piles of costume jewerly, pottery, figurines, and silver at this table
These bird figurines seem interested in the icons in front of them.
Some sellers are neat and organized like the one above, but that's the exception.
This man was unpacking his old books from this wooden box, and I thought the box was as interesting as the books.
I collect prayer books, so this small one caught my eye, but I wasn't willing to pay the equivalent of $20 for it.
military metals and coins.
The crowds are small this day and there aren't as many vendors because of the unusually hot temperatures.
And not all the items are used. This is a table of new bras! I've never bought a bra at a flea market...at least not yet.
This dishware has typical patterns of Transylvania, the Hungarian area of Romania that was once part of Hungary but taken from it after WWI.
While some items are things you might see in the States, many are specific to Europe.
One older Communist era stacking doll (back right) and a number of new ones that are not especially artistic, plus one that pictures Clinton with other presidents inside. If you like Russian nesting dolls, don't miss MY COLLECTION. Some strands of beads (to the left of the doll) look like amber which is plentiful in nearby Poland.
Don't miss the 1-minute devotion I wrote called Flea Market Trash & Treasure.
Old comic books and magazines.
Does anything strike your fancy?
"Minden 500" means everything is 500 forint (approximately $2.20 at the exchange rate this day). I pondered a few items on that table, but decided to let them go.
Do you notice the Nazi magazine below the Stephen King book (lower left corner of photo)?
Some of the vendors are as colorful as their wares.
I hope you enjoyed your tour even though you couldn't stop and bargain. Here's what I bought for approximately $30 total.
A Remington Portable typewriter from the 1920's with a Hungarian keyboard.
A Gerbeaud chocolate box. Gerbeaud is a very famous cafe in Budapest that you can still visit today. This is a description from Budapest Tourist Guide:
"Henrik Kugler established the coffee house in 1858. Since Kugler didn't have a heir he sold the cafe to Emil Gerbeaud descendant of a talented Swiss confectioner family. Gerbeaud expanded the cafe and developed into one of Europe's finest coffee house and pastry shop. He added new cakes to the menu and introduced modern confectionery techniques. Gerbeaud even founded a small chocolate factory where the legendary pralines and other sweets were made."
These figurines depicting traditional Hungarian costumes were made at A Quincum factory which is no longer operating. I like their modern retro style (is that an oxymoron?).
And this small book is a Hebrew prayer book reading from back to front.
Last is a coffee mill that has a brass plate that says "Balaton" which is the famous lake in Hungary.
To see how I incorporated these items into my home decor read "Vintage Hungarian Decor."
I hope you enjoyed our walk through this flea market. While you're here, why not check out my home page where I feature 1-Minute devotions to encourage, challenge and inspire you. Subscribe to have them sent to your email box each weekday. And check out my Marriage and Blogging Tips pages too. Thanks, Gail