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Not Your Neighborhood Flea Market

Three of my favorite things in life are travel, flea markets and trade shows. All three are adventures into the unknown.

by Jim RuenNovember 22, 2011

Hannover, Germany, flea market at city gate
Photo by Jim Ruen
Hannover, Germany, plays host to Europ’s largest continuous flea market.

Three of my favorite things in life are travel, flea markets and trade shows. All three are adventures into the unknown. No matter how much time you put into planning a trip, there are always surprises, and they are often the most memorable. Walk down a flea market aisle, and you never know what treasures await. Cruise through a trade show, and your head swims with new products and new uses for old products. Sifting through them all for things that matter to you (or in my case, my readers) is the adventure.

Earlier this month, I enjoyed all three of my passions. I traveled to Hannover, Germany, for Agritechnica, the world’s largest farm-equipment show. More than 2,600 firms from all over the world had exhibits there. An expected 400,000-plus visitors would attend the show over its six-day run. Exhibits fill 24 huge halls. I have never seen so many and such varied farm machines in a single show in my life. Everything from giant tractors and combines to leek harvesters, one-row tomato seedling planters and walk behind tractors. I only had two days there, but I could have spent the whole week.

The trade show started on Sunday, but I arrived late Saturday morning and spent the rest of the day wandering the streets of Hannover. The city is one of the main centers of commerce for the country and just happens to host Europe’s largest continuous flea market. Set along both sides of a small river, just outside the region’s parliament building and old city gates, the market was active even on an early-November weekend.

Stall after stall was filled with old CDs, clothes and knick-knacks of all sorts. Finally, I saw what I was looking for … tools.

(Continued next week.)

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