It’s a testimony to German efficiency that a market spanning two city blocks can be set up and taken down every day. The transition from organised chaos to clean streets and sidewalks made in the space of an hour. Right next to the Tiergarten stop on the S bann, the Todelmarkt is a shopper’s paradise. I found myself thinking how great it would be to furnish a flat in Berlin.
There was everything from new Spanish linens to old masters. From books to baubles. From beer tankards to fine china. And where else would you find a Russian trying to buy a bag of chips and a bottle of water with a €500 note and simply not getting the fact that the chipper couldn’t make change for her. I was in my element and could lawfully have spent a fortune – if I had one.
Across town, at the Mauerpark market, things were a little different. This is where you need to roll up your sleeves, disturb the dust and the cobwebs, and burrow for your bargains. The vendors are younger and more hip. The wares lean more towards artisan than antique. And the food is healthier. A completely different experience and yet just as interesting.
What makes Mauerpark market different is that outside the market fence, on a Sunday afternoon, a open-air karaoke session is in full swing. Browsing is puncuated with regular applause as complete randoms take the stage to wow the crowd and enjoy their three minutes of fame. A multicoloured golf umbrella marks the spot and a guy in a green t-shirt emcees the proceedings. The audience sits under the full blast of the summer sun, oblivious to the heat. BBQs smolder and cold beers wash away the dust. Tis a hard life but sure someone has to live it.