One Saturday I decided to visit the historic Naschmarkt, Vienna’s largest open air market. When the neighboring flea market is in full swing on Saturdays, the market is at its liveliest.
The Naschmarkt stretches along a long, narrow piece of land in old town. A river runs under it. The area has been a marketplace since the late 18th century. Today it contains over 100 fixed market stalls selling take-out food alongside colorful fruit, vegetables and spices. Abundant restaurants and bars add to the eclectic mix. A massive, chaotic, flea market takes place next to it on Saturdays.
The casual atmosphere, along with restaurants using fresh ingredients from the marketplace and offering specialties from all over the world, make the Naschmarkt a popular place for locals and tourists alike. I gravitated to the Middle Eastern section with take-out kebab stands. Here I was able to grab an inexpensive Turkish kebab and a warm cheese pie.
A vibrant crowd of fashionable locals and tourists congregated outside the restaurants, bars, and cafes. Some wore were casually leaning back in their chairs on the sunny side of a cafe while sipping a glass of wine.
The Saturday flea market sprawled out at the far end of Naschmarkt in the area which was an old abandoned wholesale market. It was hard to tell the hundreds of browsers and vendors apart. There was a dynamic mix of goods including genuine and not-so-genuine antiques, household items, used books and records, racks of expensive furs and leather jackets, and piles of second hand clothing.
The old adage “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” was never more apparent to me than at the end of the day at the flea market. Large backhoes were pushing whatever was left behind by the vendors into a huge pile. Numerous nicely-dressed people were rummaging through this mountain of stuff, filling up their bags, and moving on with a look of satisfaction. It was as if they just got the deal of the century – free.
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