Of Flea Markets, Dirndls, and Crime-Solving Dogs

With spring comes the return of the Flohmarkt, or flea market, a famous feature of the Viennese landscape. To be honest, it’s possible they were here all year, but the weather was so bloody awful that who would have known? So, a couple of weekends ago I hit the Flohmarkt Trifecta:  three flea markets in 2 days. Curious what there is to buy—and what single purchase I finally selected from among the tens of thousands of objects on offer? You will never guess.

Flea market at Freyung in Vienna
What the hell is this stuff, and why does it haunt my dreams?

The first flea market (which was also the smallest) gave me an unfortunate false sense of what to expect from the others. This consisted of a few stands in the neighborhood of the Freyung (last seen on this blog here). It was there that I saw a table of totally scary paraphernalia from both World Wars as well as associated other military campaigns, liberally mixed with crucifixes, dolls, and other items familiar from horror films.

This photo is incapable of conveying the terror instilled by this display — but I couldn’t take better pictures because the totally scary guy manning the stand was looking at me and probably putting a curse on me.


So naturally after that I was curious about what to expect from the semi-annual Neubaugasse Flohmarkt, held in the 7th district. This is a gigantic flea market running up both sides of a long street and consisting of dozens of stands and a bewildering collection of objects. Allow me to set the scene:

Neubaugasse flea market in Vienna's 7th district
Thank God it wasn’t raining.
Turtle shell from Neubaugasse flea market in Vienna
This noble sea creature did not die in vain. Not at all.


At Neubaugasse you could find an incredible range of objects, from a turtle etched with images of the first American presidents and a giant bald eagle, to a pair of airplane seats, to cameras of every possible variety.

Airplane seats from Neubaugasse flea market in Vienna
Because there’s nothing you long for more in your own home than the experience of flying coach.





Overwhelmed by this display, we headed downhill and into the 6th district, and thus into the rear portion of the Naschmarkt. The Naschmarkt is best known as Vienna’s largest outdoor food market, but it also has a flea market at its far end. This flea market is only on Saturdays, but takes place year round.


Flea market at the Naschmarkt in Vienna
At the Naschmarkt, if you want stuff rather than food, head out back.




I can now unreservedly say that this is where you want to go if you are in search of Tracht.


That’s right. Tracht.


Tracht at Naschmarkt flea market
Why do I write Tracht with a captial-T? Because in German one capitalizes nouns, and Tracht is a Thing.


What is Tracht, you ask? Tracht is traditional regional clothing—your dirndls, your lederhosen, your little green felt cavalry jackets with brass buttons that probably have a name but I don’t know what it is. Also, Tyrolean hats (not pictured here).




By now you are wondering what purchase I made—what single object I selected from this glory to bring into my home and represent my identity. Was it a dirndl? Was it a dead animal? Well, it was at Neubaugasse that a certain book among the thousands upon thousands displayed there caught my eye:

Kommissar Rex book in Vienna
Here I am and there is Rex, right under my hand, as though I am petting his adorable head.

It’s a commemorative picture book from the first season of Kommissar Rex, a television program about a crime-fighting German Shepherd. It is my favorite TV show, it is teaching me German, and it was a flea market, damn it! A flea market is a temple to misguided purchases.

I make no apologies.

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5 Responses to Of Flea Markets, Dirndls, and Crime-Solving Dogs

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  4. Heather says:

    Flying coach? Those seats are Business Class, all the way. Didn’t you notice the retractable footrest and the small center platform for resting your complimentary adult beverages and mixed nuts? That being said, they look like they’ve probably seen better days…

    • Lisa says:

      Did I not see this? You know — I’ve never flown Business Class, so the markers of its luxury blew right by mer. You’re totally right, those are luxury seats! Though, um, still not something I want to see right when I come in the front door (we had a brief conversation, half-joking, about buying them and putting them in the front hall, where we need something to sit on while putting on shoes).

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