Mauerpark Flohmarkt (Flea Market), Berlin

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Germany is known for its flea markets & Berlin more so. This Mauerpark one, I guess, is the most popular one in Berlin and the best thing about this one is that it combines the best of two worlds – German flea markets & Berlin’s eclectic culture.

No, truly, this is not something just for the sake of saying it. Berlin’s Mauerpark flea market offers tidbits, unique things & useful things to some people just like any German or other flea market. At the same time, it represents Berlin’s eclectic & diverse culture as closely as possible. Berlin stands for being the land for artists, illustrators, designers and entrepreneurs – a place where they can be themselves & do what they want with full acceptance, because Berlin accepts everyone & everything.

This is something that Mauerpark flea market also represents in one way. Unlike regular flea markets, it doesn’t only have vintage stuff, there are artists selling their latest creations & many people selling their handmade stuff. To add to this, the part of the Berlin wall here is also getting constantly painted & repainted by people/artists. On the sides, there’s a huge crowd sitting atop a hill & cheering Karaoke participants. If you enter the food area, you’ll see that you can literally expect anything in the stalls, Vietnamese, food from Uruguay, Mexican, Bao Buns – you name it. Yes! this is what Berlin is – everything & anything at one single point only.

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‘Mauer’ is German for wall, so I believe this park is called Mauerpark because it is around a section of the Berlin wall. I went here for the second time this past Sunday & thought I’ll do a photo tour. Thing is I didn’t click as many (or should I say as varied) as I wanted, but still here’s what I have. 🙂

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The main entrance

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Right adjacent to where all the flea market action happens, is an open ground where people come over for picnics, although its not a well-maintained or even a clean park.

The park is also lined by a hill sort of surface, as in part of it is high up and that high up surface has Berlin wall bordering it. Have a look!

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That graffiti laced wall that you see is the Berlin wall and, as you can see, its on a height.

On the top, you see the spirit of Berlin, people showing their artistic sense on the Berlin wall, people chilling on swings or just sun bathing!

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Picnic people, as seen from the top

Mauerpark is also famous for one more thing, something that quite exemplifies the young & hipster spirit of Berlin. A Karaoke that happens in the ‘bear pit’. A small area of the Mauerpark flea market is called bear pit & summers usually see Karaoke happening there. The happiness & energy of people there is purely infectious! The way crowds cheer for whoever is performing leaves you with a very positive feeling.

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I am standing here & clicking!

I totally feel that Mauerpark flea market & Karaoke is definitely an experience worth having while you are in Berlin. It happens on every Sunday & you can totally keep some time for it. If nothing else, you will love it for the food variety, for sure.

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You can literally find someone with a robot they made themselves!

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If you have been here or plan to head over, I would love to know your thoughts in the comments! 🙂

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and that is just Germany gearing up for the Euro Cup! 🙂

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4 things that I miss terribly about India!

I have been meaning to write this one since the longest time, but so are a 100 other posts. Better leave it at that. You know how you go somewhere & miss things that you left behind. I don’t mean loved ones & memories, even things. I had few strange revelations regarding  what all I miss from India after I moved to Berlin. That’s why I felt the need to document it. Some are really obvious things, but read on to know the weird ones:

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  1. For-granted things: There are many things whose existence I didn’t even register in my daily life and I miss them. No, I am not talking about easy access to water instead of toilet paper in the toilet :D.  I am talking of things that I really didn’t register in mind while living in India! Coriander, for example. My mom is a coriander lover and she puts excess of it in every dish if she has coriander at hand. I used to be super mad about it and tell her that I don’t want coriander leaves in my food every time and that too so many. Now, here, many times, I miss coriander leaves in my food & I don’t like the other breed available at regular supermarkets (is it parsley?). So, I sometimes buy it for a very high price at Indian grocery stores. Imagine, dhania (coriander), something that is given for free many times by veggie sellers in India! 😀 I can also mention missing Chole Bhature, something that is definitely not one of my favourite fast foods back home but I still ordered it once while eating out.
  2.  Street Markets: Talking of veggie sellers back home brings me to street markets. This is a fairly obvious one. Indian street markets, especially if you live in Delhi, have a character of their own, each one of them and I miss every one of those. Be it the strictly hipster Paharganj, the book lover’s paradise on Sundays – Daryaganj, the shopper’s delight Janpath, the truly Tibetan experience – Majnu ka Tila or the shiny, bling-y wedding shopping haunt but with tiny, dirty streets – Chandni Chowk. Phewww! I miss all of them. cl3a5jd
  3. Street Food: This is so cliched, it isn’t even funny. It’s hard to find someone who has lived in India throughout their lives and they do not miss Indian street food while in abroad. I am going to go ahead and put a picture here so that everyone is salivating right on their laptops! Go people! 😀 I think I should also mention here Berlin is very cosmopolitan when it comes to food & it’s so much easy to find Indian food, even if not street food. By the way, a place near my house here sells Indian street food, yet to try it.IMG_0423_Fotor
  4.  Fabindia: Haha! Never could have even imagined this one. The only article I have from Fabindia right now is a toner spray, which is actually a gift. The last thing I bought from them was Kurtas for my father with his money. Fab India is expensive for my student life right now but whenever I am near a store, I enter it for window shopping & now I miss doing that. 😀
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    Source: http://www.urbandesis.com/2014/10/urban-bites-fabindia-singapore/

    5. Taking my friends to Big Chill: Not a thing about India this is, but it is on my to-do list when I am back. That’s why the post is not called ‘5 things’ 😛 Big Chill is one of Delhi’s favourite places to dine at, including myself, when wanting to have Italian and I don’t know how I have never written about it. I wanted to take my B-school friends once there because none of them have been there. We came to our respective campuses in Europe before that could happen. So, yes, it is on the cards once I am back!

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    Source: nomadicrider.com/2011/02/khan-ka-khaana-eating-out-at-khan-market/

     

That’s all I could think of. I know many of you are living abroad since so long, PB, Shruti di, Bikramjit & so many of you whose blogs I love reading! 🙂 Do share what it is that you miss, if anything at all!

 

A visit to Daryaganj Sunday Book Market | Street Diaries

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Before we start, I have to say something. I am so disappointed with myself regarding the pictures of this post. I could have done so much better what with the Old Delhi backdrop, huge, HUGE piles of books all around. Believe me when I say this, this market is huge as hell!

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Yes, that’s what the first thing that hits you when you reach here. Let’s not count the obvious culture shift that you feel from the rest of Delhi.

I know it sounds annoying to hear it repeatedly, but trust me, it is just not possible to explain in words how big this market is!

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My friend and I got down at the ‘New Delhi Railway station’ metro station and took an auto for the market. We told the auto guy a point to drop us off, but the humongous piles of books began much before that point. We were like, should we get down mid-way or the best is yet to come?

As far as I am concerned, the entire market is the bomb. I am not aware of any best stalls or corners as such. You will find treasures and prices that might make you gasp. I got a lovely kids’ hard bound book for like 40 INR!! That’s less than a dollar!

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There is this one big stationery shop that has all sorts of cool notebooks for really cheap prices. Most of the things here are sold by weight. You should definitely go to this shop for notebooks and some other knick-knacks. If you only want to visit this shop and not the entire market, ask anyone about it once you reach the main lane of Daryaganj book market.

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If you have heard about Delhi’s street shopping for clothes all your life, this market is that same thing but for books.

Bargain shamelessly.

Don’t show that you were dying to own a copy of that book you chanced upon.

Don’t show that you were dying to own the edition that you chanced upon.

The more you walk, the more your hunger to walk further will increase. Dress comfortably for that. Carry water.

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That’s my haul!

I see no reason why you shouldn’t head here the coming weekend.

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Look at that Mughal-art inspired book, this book was like a magnet.

[Plus, one of my favorite Instagram-ers, India Pictures, is having an Instagram meet in Old Delhi on the 19th of April. It starts at 6 am though 😛 ].

Sagan ke lifafe (envelopes), anyone?

Sagan ke lifafe (envelopes), anyone?

The Quirky Kurta: Street Style 7

Remember my post here about when I went to Janpath? Well, I saw a lady wearing the kurta (Indian tunic) shown below and I think it is a statement in itself. 🙂 Honestly, I have seen many quirky kurtas recently in metro and elsewhere, but I don’t quite like the fact that most of these are made of this thin, polyester-like fabric which, to me, looks a little cheapish but I understand that it is a matter of personal choice (and maybe, someday, I start liking this fabric myself 😛 considering the sheer number of prints thronging the market! ). However, I once remember seeing a woman wearing a kurta with stuff that’s usually written on trucks written all over it and it was not of this polyester-like fabric but of cotton-like fabric. That one looked really beautiful.

Anyway, I digress. Coming back to the kurta featured here, I don’t remember if it looked classy or not, but different (in a good way) it sure is! Have a look and tell me in comments what you think of it. I would  love to know. 🙂

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Janpath Diaries

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I am really happy to write this and I must tell why. My cousin was visiting us and I asked her to carry her DSLR along (my instinct told me that she would want to shop in some street market and that would let me live my dream of covering a street market with a DSLR). So, yes, here you go with one of the most popular markets of Delhi, the Janpath market. I know that the quality is not awesome as per DSLR standards because it is difficult to understand these cameras in a day but the quality is good enough. 😉

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Even if you ask a non-Delhi person, they would surely know about this market as it is extremely famous among the street markets. However, it is identified mostly as an export surplus market. No, it is NOT just that. In fact, among all the things that it offers, that is the least important one (depends on perspective, but you get my point? 🙂 )

Yes, it has many things to offer and, while photos take the limelight, I would like to take you on a literary tour of Janpath. I am listing all the things that this place offers in the order they appear if you start coming towards the market from Connaught Place or any of the exits of Rajiv Chowk Metro Station (if coming from LIC office building, point 2 will appear before point 1):

  1. Tourist attraction shops: There are different shops in a line catering to any or all of Indian handicrafts, Indian wear, jewelry, Indian footwear, scarves, handbags and t-shirts. Honestly, these have grown to become one of my favorite things in Janpath despite knowing that the stuff in these shops is overpriced. See, these shops are meant to attract tourists but everything is so nicely arranged and beautifully displayed that they are a treat for us too. Although overpriced, the Indian stuff here has good finishing and you really feel like buying everything. My personal favorite here is the chappal (footwear) shop just in the beginning of the line. A store called ‘Punjab 1461’ is really popular among these shops.                                                                          c1exlcl crcberd
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    This photo is from the Punjab 1461 store.

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    Isn’t this vintage car model a beauty?

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  2. Export Surplus Market: Done with the tourist-y shops, you turn towards your right and see the export surplus market. What is really amazing about this part is that it begins with some shops of vintage products and jewelry before it moves on to the clothing. The vintage products including Victorian clocks, lanterns, hookahs and lamps are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I can’t even describe how beautiful I find those. Now I have never asked the price but I am sure they won’t be exorbitant, if not cheap. And the jewelry. Sigh. I can’t even. It is very, very beautiful but bargain a lot before you settle for anything.                                                    1iwed1n 5qvrcdg                                  The second part of this market, i.e. the clothes is what has made this market extremely popular. Now honestly, that part is losing its charm for me. Yes, the clothes are a steal and yes, here I don’t have to be paranoid about the stuff being second-hand (there are so many pieces for everything, it can’t be second-hand), but I don’t know, they don’t feel quite finished and I don’t exactly feel like buying. Maybe, I’ll be back to being greedy about the clothes here soon. However, I really recommend this and if you like exploring street markets, you will love the sheer variety of clothes that you can buy here for amazing prices. I bought two belts for a total of 150INR and you have to look at them to believe how finished and gorgeous they are. Bargain a lot, again. 🙂
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    That, my friends, is a Pyjama. 🙂 Do you know how much it costs without bargaining? 100 INR.

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    Denim shirts were all over the place.

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    That is me, always checking out everything even if I have no money or intention to buy anything. 😛

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    I love the anchor print pants. Do you?

  3. Miscellaneous shops and food joints: If you go through the entire clothes market and come back to where you started (it shouldn’t be difficult since the clothes part is in a straight line), you will see a host of shops on walking further. These have stuff ranging from footwear, jewelry, sweets, mouth fresheners and what not. There are also some food joints among which stands the famous Depaul’s. It is famous for its coffee and I am yet to try it. 🙂
  4.  Gujarat Market: If you keep walking further, you will see the Gujarat market beginning which has basically Gujarati women selling their stuff on street side stalls. Another of my favorites, this place has amazingly beautiful mirror work bags, clothes, bed sheets and shoes. I’ll cover this market as a separate post someday. 🙂

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So, that’s about it. I know it is really long but this is one of my favorite posts and I have worked really hard on this one. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

 

PS: Read about another street market of Delhi here that I covered for a professional blog, once upon a time. 🙂 If you want to know more about my obsession with covering the streets, go here.

 

Life Instagrammed! #6

Last week just sped off like anything. I hung out with my college friends over the weekend after such a long time, it was really nice. 😀 We met, as usual, in Connaught Place and ate at this place, Route 04, an American cafe and bar sort of setup. We keep going back to this place every now and then for some reason, even though I find the food pretty average. We had onion rings, pizza, mushroom alfredo sauce pasta and my non-vegetarian friends had something else too whose name I don’t remember (i recently gave up non-veg, I am unable to eat it these days). Anyway, everything was pretty ok and felt bland.

I also went for an eye check up but apparently the doctors who should be checking me are not available on Sundays. :/

Anyway, coming back to the life snapshots clicked this week, here you go:

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1. Haha! This thing is so much fun! The Delhi-Jaipur road where Cyber City, Gurgaon,     India is situated recently had these ‘Keep Calm’ boards put on a lot of pillars. I think this brings a smile on your face among the maddening jams. Since my office is in Cyber City, I used to come across these boards while in my office cab (‘used to’ because I have now started using metro for some time).

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2. ‘Day to Day Economics’ by Satish Y. Deodhar is the book that I am reading at the moment, along with other fiction books. This is my fourth book as part of the Brunch Book Challenge, but I guess I’ll be sharing my opinion about my fifth and sixth books before I complete this. It’s so hard to finish non-fiction for me 😛

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3. Women’s Day Celebrations in my office. 😀 All of us got a box each from Baker’s Street (a bakery shop) which had a cute cookie, a cupcake, a croissant and sandwiches in it. Fine on the taste part but looked super beautiful! (Ate it too fast to click pictures :P)

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4. Air freshener in my friend’s car. I don’t know why but I liked the container a lot. 😛

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5. New curtains in our drawing-room. I like them a lot, tell me what you think. 😀

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6. Treasures getting sold on the street. I found this stall selling these beauties in Connaught Place, Delhi.

That’s it for now.

Take care and keep smiling 🙂