Thursday, September 1, 2011

{flea market: danish style}

My sister and I have been playing a lot of "Would You Rather" recently. One of our favourite head-scratchers: would you rather have a human body and a dog's head, or a human head and a dog's body? (We're both going with the dog's head, in case you're wondering)

But now, one for you. Would you rather go to the world's best flea market, and be able to take almost nothing home with you, or go to the world's worst flea market, and take home whatever you want?

Without a doubt, the flea market we visited in Viby (near Aarhus) was the best I've ever been to. Rather than feeling like you're rummaging through rubbish and clutter, it was like having your pick of props used in a Scandinavian style magazine. White ceramic teapots aplenty, Royal Copenhagen dishes stacked to the ceiling, a little red typewriter that even had keys for the three extra Danish vowels... ah, our suitcases had never seemed so small.

This ceramic butcher's pig made our shortlist, mostly because his sweetly named Picnic Shoulder made us dream of wicker baskets full of sandwiches. Okay, also because his Butt was right behind his ear. Hehe. But unfortunately, his weight and breakability ultimately left him there, staring wistfully at us from his shelf.

Also high on our list of maybes was Alfi, and his metallic brother, Robo-Alfi. Just a few days earlier in the trip, we'd been out for the day with our cousins and had packed ourselves some lunch, cake, and tea. The tea had come along in their Alfi pot, whose lid screwed down tightly so nothing spilt, even after bumping around a safari park in a pushchair. That night, as I unscrewed the lid to clean Alfi, a cloud of steam rose up. After ten hours, the leftover tea was still piping hot. Amazing! So, story short, we're big Alfi fans. In fact, we've raved about Alfi so much to friends and family since, I think they're wondering if we've got shares in the company. 

Not really our cup of tea, but interesting nonetheless, were these pots. Labelled gamle danske honningkrukker, I'm assuming they are honey pots from the days of Viking Winnie the Pooh. 

Justin and Tilly, who were less impressed with all the pots I was oohing over, finally found something they'd like: a two tonne helmet, with horse's tail headdress. When I pointed out that it would never ever fit into the suitcase, Justin offered to wear it home on the plane. (No, I made that up. But I would love to hear airport security ask him to remove his belt, watch, and helmet)

A rainbow of pots -- couldn't you imagine a picnic of pasta salads packed into them? Yes, clearly I'm picnic-crazy at the moment.  Hopefully, by the time we're back in Texas, it'll be cool enough to venture outside during the day.

So, onto the things that we did come home with. Number one: Children's Scrabble, in Danish. I couldn't get over the tiles with those Danish vowels. There's a chance we'll play it, but I hope to hang it somehow in Tilly's room.

Numbers two, three, and four: a lovely sturdy mixing bowl (ours at home melted slightly in the dishwasher and is now a Dali-esque deformed shape), a polka-dotted cake plate, and an aebleskiver pan. Anyone notice a favourite colour?

Aebleskiver, in case you're wondering, are little fried apple pancake balls that the Danes have around Christmastime. The fact that ours is painted red means that it's probably no good for actually making aebleskiver (that would be too useful) but we did enjoy putting the blackberries we'd picked in it. Good portion control. Or a way of keeping greedy piggies from eating your share.

We also found some perfect gifts for our Mums: a glass lemon juicer for mine, and a silver spoon marked Kobenhavn for Justin's. I'd never have thought of flea markets for gifts before, but I love that these souvenirs are so authentically Danish -- owned by actual Danes first! 

What do you think -- could you have left that lovely butcher's pig on a shelf? Do you have any great flea markets or thrift shops near you that are full of things you can't resist?