Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Jaffa flea market - a hoarder's paradise

When you hear the word Jaffa, you think of the cakes, right? As far as the rest of the world's concerned, this city is most famous for their citrus groves and the namesake orange. The legendary soap industry (no, not "The Days of our Lives" kind...) is another one of their claims to fame. 

But these days Jaffa's infinitely most popular attraction is their flea market.

Jaffa's landmark is the clock tower, which makes navigating the rest of the city rather convenient even for someone like me (I'm telling you - carrots have better sense of direction). The flea market, Shuk Ha-Pishpeshim, spreads out around the tower, along the narrow side streets of Olei Zion. 

(The name, by the way, literally means the market of fleas...!)

Flea market is open from daily from Sunday to Friday (Saturday= Shabbat=closed) from 9am to 5pm. The best day for trawling it is Friday, when it closes at 2pm. On Sunday the first vendors start laying out their goods already after midnight!

Come early, bring cash, get ready to lose every last shred of sanity and at least try to haggle. (Another venture I'm totally useless at: last time I tried my Hebrew skills in Jerusalem, the vendor named his "absolutely last and final offer" at 25 shekels. I was adamant and insisted on giving the bewildered salesman 35...)

The vendors here, too, have grown unfortunately stubborn and unable to fathom that sometimes an old, rusty piece of worthless junk really is just an old, rusty piece of worthless junk and not a highly sought-after collector's item. There are finds to be made here, though. Especially the furniture selection can easily send one's self-restraint spinning and feverishly calculating shipping costs (to save you money and time, here's a handy formula: it's too much, no matter what the currency).

There are antiques, some more, most less authentic (PS. Does anybody else have Big Mountain's "Baby I love your way" playing in their head right now?") ...

...and new stuff. Such as pottery, which (depending on the location) is being sold as Jerusalemite, Armenian or Hebronite. 

The open doors to the workshops grant passers-by a glimpse into their various crafts, too. I soooo saw myself (travelling with a carry-on) trying to negotiate these doors into the plane with me... but hate to report that common sense won in the end.

(Though, unlike that of my carry-on, the potential of these beauties is endless! Table tops, photography staging equipment, screens, installations of any kind, souvenirs... funny anecdotes of how I fell out with every single of my friends who turned up to help me next time I'm moving houses...)

The are is also home to a host of beautiful little boutiques, such as this Zielinski & Rozen perfumerie, with a picturesquely old-fashioned apothecary-like vibe. You can even commission your signature scent  (prices start at 130 NIS - less than €30)

There are also all sorts of cosy little cafes with plenty of eye candy. And cakes and ice cream.

In case you prefer your candy in a non-diabetes (or a holiday fling)- inducing way, head over to Sofi on Rabbi Yohanan street, where plastic truly is fantastic and comes in every candy-coloured shade imaginable. This Cath Kidston-like wonderland is enough to turn even the most sarcastic food blogger back into a little girl who wants nothing more than Malibu Barbie and that convertible...

As my Instagram-followers already know, I developed a serious addiction to those oriental and oh, so ornamental floor tiles, which I've been compulsively documenting on my Insta feed. Since taking one of these houses with me is not really an option, these vinyl mats by Israeli company Tiva Design proved to be a genius solution. 

They come in all different colours, sizes and patterns and are guaranteed to bring some of that much-needed 19th century Arab townhouse feel into, say, a 21st century kitchen in Helsinki. In the end it only took me 2 weeks to figure out which one of these babies would come home with me  ♥ 




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