flea market in Warsaw

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flea market

Flea markets really don’t exist in Utah.  We have a plethora of enormous thrift stores {my favorites are Deseret Industries and Savers}, and we have crappy yard sales aplenty, but no flea markets.  So when we got to Warsaw and I read about this enormous flea market every Saturday and Sunday on the outskirts of the city, I was determined to go.

vintage typewriter

Viktor really hates stuff like this, so it took some, uh, convincing.  We even delayed our trip to Krakow by a day so I could go check out the goods.

On a sleepy Sunday we took the tram to a really sketchy area of Warsaw {the East side, which looked like the projects in N.Y.C.} and all of a sudden, there it was.  Striped tents, Gypsies, and accordion playing Russians.

russian

Viktor was astonished.

flea markets fur hat

And 2.2 seconds in, we realized we should all stop speaking English immediately.  In all honesty, the only time Viktor spoke English was inside our apartment, and even then very grudgingly.  But between the Gypsies, the Russians, and the accordion playing Polskies, we figured it would be best for all English-speaking members of our family to close their mouths.  *Ahem*.

If there was something I was really interested in I would give Viktor a significant look and keep walking.  We did this all the way around the square and then Viktor would go back and inquire about prices in Russian or Polish, depending what the circumstance required.

flea market

There an really *ugly American* woman trying to dicker over prices using Euros, speaking English. Poland is on the Zwoty z?oty not the Euro, and the Euro is worth a lot more than the American dollar right now.  P.S. not one of the shopkeepers spoke a word of English.  You should have seen the shop sellers; they were flocking like vultures to this dingdong, fighting over who got to swindle her.  We tried to be a little more discreet.

In all honesty everything was really expensive, and I wasn’t super comfortable dickering over prices.  This is not usually a problem for me, I mean, I feel ripped off at D.I. if I spend more than $8 on a glass pitcher, but I was totally out of my element.

furniture vintage dishes

I didn’t know what should cost what.  I mean, a full Russian spacesuit?  How much do those go for these days?  The individual rolls of toilet paper the Gypsies were selling?  I don’t know.  Charmin’s about a dollar a roll, right?  What about a Nazi license plate?  A German gun circa 1939?  A WWII Soviet helmet?

gypsies

I really wanted to buy up all the WWII stuff, but we were a little, uh, worried about bringing that stuff back through customs.

furs

What really floored me was all the furs the Russians brought in.  I was totally 100% overwhelmed by all the fur.  Who sees fur around anymore?  Aside from my grandmother’s closet from the 1930’s, I haven’t seen fur in YEARS.

When we got home and I told my friend Carina about stall after stall of fur hats, coats, gloves, vests, and mink stoles, she almost strangled me {no really, physically strangled me} for not buying anything.  But really, when am I going to wear fur Carina?  To the grocery store on Saturday?  Truly, I was pretty convinced I couldn’t get it through customs on the way back into L.A. so I didn’t even look at any of it.

candleabras

In the end all we bought was some Russian dominoes for Charming and a TAG Heuer stopwatch for Viktor {he’s obsessed with all things TAG}.

But the smells, the memories, the accordion playing Russians?  Those were free, and the memories will last a lifetime.

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Allison

Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

18 Comments

  1. Zina :

    Wow. I’m so glad you convinced Viktor to take the time to go there, even if you didn’t buy anything. How fun.

    Next time would it be an option to ship stuff back to the States?

    • Allison :

      Zina, next time I WILL be shipping stuff. Seriously.

      • Aslan :

        There is a critical shortage of ifonrmative articles like this.

  2. Heather :

    While in England “thrifting” I learned as an American to speak quietly and w/ a British accent….and they would charge me at least 1/2 of what any other American would get charged. American’s are loud and rich…or so they think!

    • Allison :

      Oh, I should have thought of that! British accents are easy. But I’m not sure the Russians would have been able to tell the difference.

  3. Julie {Angry Julie Monday} :

    LOL, I would have liked to watch you on video taking all those furs through customs….

    • Allison :

      Oh my gosh, can you even imagine? It was bad enough as it was with the dog sniffers through our luggage.

  4. Donna :

    That looks amazing! Too bad it’s so hard to get stuff home. Next time you’ll be more prepared with a shipping container to send home on the slow boat.

    • Allison :

      Yep, I will. A whole boatload full.

  5. kelleyn :

    Too bad you couldn’t bring that typewritter home for me. I have been looking for one like that for ages. I once bought a gorgeous wool sweater for about 3 American dollars in Warsaw. I felt kind of guilty.

    • Allison :

      Kellyn, I’ve been DYING for a typewriter. Dying for one. There were a whole bunch of them, and they were like $50 each. I just couldn’t do it.

  6. ellen patton :

    A green typewriter?!? I love typewriters!

    • Allison :

      It was gorgeous. And there was a beautiful really really old black one I was coveting.

  7. Carina :

    Yes, to the grocery store, IN FEBRUARY. When it’s cold. Mmmm. Pretty, murdery, soft furs.

    • Allison :

      Murder! Beautiful murder. Next time I’ll get you something Miss.

  8. katrina :

    I had to read this one aloud to my husband! I was snickering through the whole thing :)
    Thankyou for the laugh today I needed it

    • Allison :

      Anytime, anytime.