The vibe of a city is felt not only in its night spots and touristy sites. To get the real feel of the city and its locals, you should hit the local weekly market.
There’s all sorts of market. There’s a flea market, a wet market, and no, a supermarket doesn’t count. And in Hamburg, there’s the Fischmarkt, or the fish market.
The Fischmarkt has been around since 1703. People, both tourists and locals, converge to this part of Altona by the River Elbe on early Sunday mornings.
Mobile booths and stalls crowd the square. Fish produce of all shapes and sizes can be found here: packed or fresh, or even smoked. Fish does not have a monopoly of the market though, as the name suggests. The first stall that welcomed me as I entered the market’s premises was that selling foul. Further into the open air market, belts, shawls, and plants are also available to the market-goers.
The old Fischmarkthalle was converted into a huge mess hall, and now houses food stalls and restaurants, some of which offer buffet breakfast.
Auctioning, rather than haggling, is the name of the Fischmarkt game. Vendors shout out their price as they pile up their goods, be it fish or flowers. Once a hand is raised or a yell is heard from the crowd, the waiting game ends. To ease the tension of the trade, vendors make the selling fun, or make fun of the people.
It also works as a marketing tool, the louder one shouts, the more attention he gets , the bigger the turn out of the crowd. At one point, I enjoyed the repertoire so much, they could might as well have been actors doing stand-up performance. But then again I was in a market, where buyers and sellers are merely players. All the world’s a stage.
More photos on my flickr page. Thanks for viewing!