Tongeren, Belgium (Stop #3 on our Road Trip)
I just need to say that part of the reason (okay most of the reason) I scheduled our trip in Belgium was so that I could make it to the Tongeren Flea Market which is the biggest flea market in Belgium and one of the biggest in Benelux region. Tongeren is the Mecca of fleas in Belgium and I don't think I've been more excited for a flea market. The market runs every Sunday from around 6 AM to 1 PM. You HAVE to get there early or you will miss out on all the good stuff! Go on the first Sunday of the month because all of the antique stores and restaurants are also open.
I don't know about you guys, but when I see a good flea market my palms get sweaty, head gets dizzy, and I start foaming at the mouth. I may be exaggerating a little but the point is that I was excited woo hoo. The town of Tongeren is also known as the oldest in Belgium so it had quite a reputation to live up to. I'm going to show you some pics of the market, tell you what they specialize in, give you some tips in pink, and show you what I came home with!
I had to admit, this was the one stop on the trip with my family that was purely for me. The boys (Brandon, my brother, and step father) aren't too interested in fleas, though my mother was excited, but I was determined to go there because it was only an hour and a half drive from our home-stay in Arlon, Belgium. We parked a few blocks away on the road for free and I excitedly scurried my way to the shining orb that was Tongeren.
I'm going to show you some pictures that I snapped unfortunately from my iPhone, so they aren't the best, but I know most of you won't care right??? I don't know how anyone else feels, but I just get kind of nervous bringing out my camera and snapping shots of peoples things, plus I'm not sure who is okay with it and who isn't. And I don't want to look like a total tourist and mess up a sale :)
Up above, you can see some beautiful shelves, baskets, and small pieces of furniture.
Check out all the great stuff. Lots of shadow cabinets, clocks, paintings, and a globe. While Tongeren does have decent prices, there are a lot of items that you are going to pay a price for. Tongeren flea market is a very nice market full of higher end items and antiques (aka it's not full of stuff people are about to throw away) and most of the dealers know what they have. They certainly aren't going to ask an arm and a leg, but their prices are pretty spot on with what they are worth. But that doesn't mean you can't find plenty of deals!
Beautiful dress forms for every price range. I seriously considered buying one of these! They had dress forms that were old and new. And anywhere from 75 Euro to 250 Euro. It didn't disappoint in that avenue.
This pretty little box below was a bone of contention for me. It was a beautiful old box with pictures of Nurnberg and cherubs. The colors were beautiful and I thought about getting it to store some of my newly acquired linens. The dealer wanted 40 Euro for it and although I thought it was beautiful I decided to walk and figured if I really wanted it I'd come back later.
Let me tell you, this must have been the land of secretary desks, because when I entered one of the inside rooms, there were beautiful secretary desks EVERYWHERE. I have been trying to get my hands on the perfect secretary desk since I've moved to Germany. I've seen so many beautiful desks and I even drove a two hour drive to pick one up about 5 months ago, but it was sold right before I got there. :( So you can imagine my frustration.
I thought today was the day and that I'd be taking one of these babies home. The one below actually. This desk was from about the 1950's and it was only 170 Euros haggled down to 150 Euros. What? Is that the serious price? I was so excited. But alas, and what I've come to realize is that no one offers a delivery service. And with five people in my little SUV, they'd have to walk home for me to fit this in my car, and trust me, I considered it. A tip is to never go to a market unprepared or without enough car space or a delivery method. But sometimes, as in my case, it just wasn't possible.
Similary, I found a 300 Euro secretary desk that was over a hundred years old which was also a decent price, but I had to accept the simple fact that I was not taking any of these gorgeous desks home. Sure, I know I could have done some research and found some sort of a delivery company, but that's not how things worked out. So I bid farewell to the desks and moved on.
Below is a very blurry picture of some metal, brass, silver, and wood items.
Another item I was sure I would bring home was a chandelier. They had so many to choose from, but I refrained myself.
And of course they had plenty of chairs and furniture which is what I love best.
So after going through the whole market, having lunch and eating some amazing Belgian waffles (Brussels is only an hour away from Tongeren so the waffles are still amazing!), and only buying three items, I decided that I wanted, nay, needed that colorful antique Nurnberg box. I headed back to the stall where it was located and I kind of froze. It looked like nothing had been bought from this stall EXCEPT for the box that I wanted. Of course it was taken and I broke one of my own rules about flea market shopping; If you love an item or even like an item then you should buy it then and there because it WILL be gone when you come back around, and of course in my case it was...
So there aren't too many pictures here, but I want to let you guys know what were the most popular items that I saw in bulk at Tongeren Market. Meaning, that if you are searching for any of the below mentioned items, this place will not disappoint.
Popular Tongeren Flea Finds:
-Dress Forms -Paintings
-Secretary Desks -Watering Pots
-Linens -Vintage Signs
-Grain Sacks -Militaria
-Chairs -Shabby Furniture
-Clocks -Knick Knacks
Now on to what I took home!
Still on my turquoise and gold color kick, I picked up this porcelain? turquoise and gold leaf dish that was just what I needed to store my rings on my bedside. The lady was asking 3 Euro and gave it to me for 2 Euro without me even asking. I love it! Looking at the back it was probably made by a local company in Belgium and signed A. Bayer.
The second item I picked up was this old blanket. To be honest, I don't even think the blanket was for sale, but as soon as I saw it I envisioned having pic nics and naps in the park! It was 4 Euro.
The final items I bought were this pair of Lion's Head Bowls that are in literally every restaurant in Germany and other parts of Europe. Everytime I get soup it is in one of these bowls so I wanted to take some with me. The dealer had about 10 more of these but I wanted to keep it simple and they were only .50 each!
If you can manage to do the math, that's only 7 Euro total that I spent. Even my family ended up finding some cool things and they admitted that they actually had a great time and weren't bored once. "Duh!" I told them.
I will definitely be back a few more times before I leave Germany and although I didn't buy a lot, I wanted to. Tongeren didn't disappoint and I would recommend this market to anyone.
Favorite Items at Tongeren:
The secretary desks and dress forms.
Next Stop: Trier, Germany
Have you been to Tongeren? Tell me about your experience or if you haven't been there would you like to go?
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