The Frankfurt Fleamarket is definitely something that should be on tourist guides. It is a magnificent display of other people's lives - what they had, what they want. Anything and everything can be found here, from sinks and horse saddles to your kinder surprise collections and fur coats. And of course - analog cameras!
The fleamarket takes place every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. The location changes between two areas: The Museum Embankment, right down from Hauptwache, and next to the Osthafen. The one on the museum embankment is a lot more popular though, given that it is very close to the center.
The fleamarket is great for all kinds of things. For us lomographers, obviously it’s great for all the cameras one can find. I saw a bunch of Canon AE’s, a lot of Minolta’s, some Pentax and Olympus SLR’s. A few Polaroids here and there. All in all, in about an hour, I’ve stumbled across at least 50 different cameras and about 70-80 different lenses. The good thing is – they go away for cheap. Sure, the condition isn’t mint, there are scratches here and there, the leather cases fall apart, but the cameras work. The lenses usually come without scratches, though if they do, you can get the price lowered by bargaining. I found an awesome Zenit TTL for only 10euros. Sadly, I didn’t have any cash on me, sucks. A bunch of good-looking Minoltas were going for 15-25euros, the Canons (some from the 80s, some from around 95 went for around 30euros).
There are a few important things to remember for this:
- Have cash with you, they don’t accept Visa. ;) Also, have cash in small bills, rarely can they break a 100.
- Get there early: the most sellers are ready by 10am at the latest; at around 12, all hell breaks loose. People are fighting for things, screaming, trying to get the price lowered by 1euro and all that crazy stuff.
- Plan about 2 hours of time for the whole thing, especially if you’re planning to take pictures.
- Take some food and drinks with you, as a portion of fries and a small beer will cost you 7euros at one of the four food stands. Coffee’s cheap though, but no one drinks that if it’s 23°C and sunny, like it was on the day I went.
And now for what to find there, besides cameras:
There’s really everything. A LOT of clothes, mostly secondhand, but some new leather jackets from Italy Made in Taiwan. A lot of electronics, like 3-4 year old laptops for 30euros, drilling machines, electric screwdrivers, bicycle stuff, cooking pots, knives, lamps, toys, rugs. A LOT of stuff, some of it clearly trash, but if you’re lucky, you’re bound to find something really awesome or antique looking. I definitely suggest visiting this event.
For my mom, this would be a hell of an experience. She’s cool – she listens to the same kind of weird music as I do (progressive metal, where songs are like 15-30 minutes long), she used to do photography in her youth, did her own developing in a dark room and printed pictures on photographic paper, and she says she’d love to see once more how life was 20 years ago. And the fleamarket is the perfect place to see that again: people sell stuff as old as 30 years!
If at some point you get tired of all the antique and not so antique stuff, you can visit one of the museums right by the market; there’s the Communications Museum, a bunch of art museums dedicated to the Romans and Greeks and a lot more. There’s also a lovely park in the middle of the market street, so if you get tired of all the stress, just go there, sit down, and enjoy the nice weather, perhaps have a cigarette and a beer. Chill, gather strength and continue shopping, shopping, shopping!
And once you’re done, cross the bridge from which you can take awesome skyscraper pictures, and head on to Hauptwache, get yourself some awesome ice cream or a Caramel Frappuchino from Starbucks and enjoy your day! Have fun everybody!