People often ask us: “Where do you find all these things?” Good question, and the answer is generally a rather cagey “all over the place”. But the fact is, all of us at 20th Century Stores put a lot of time and effort into tracking down the kinds of things you can’t buy anywhere else – and over the last two days Team Snygg has been out in Belgium doing just that.
It was hard work, but amazing fun. It took us 5 hours to drive to the Eurotunnel, and another three hours to get to the town of Verviers, which isn’t the sort of place we Brits would normally visit (sorry, Verviers) but over Easter weekend it becomes Flea Market Central. Literally. The whole centre of town becomes a massive flea market, and after falling unconscious pretty soon after our arrival, we were up at the crack of dawn and ready to buy.
That was the tricky bit. There was so much to see, it was hard to decide what we really needed. There was everything, from clothes to kitchenalia, from Mid-Century loveliness to last week’s junk. But that’s the joy of a flea market – you never know what you’ll find. We soon got the hang of bargaining in terrible French, and before we knew it we were heading back to the van to unload. There’s no easy way of doing this – we took a wheelie suitcase each which came in handy, but we invariably found ourselves steering a loaded suitcase with one hand while carrying a load of bags with the other, through crowds that became thicker and thicker as the morning wore on. By lunchtime, we really needed a break. Luckily, Belgium has plenty to sustain the weary hunter.
We carried on shopping into the afternoon, each time discovering stalls we hadn’t seen down streets and alleys we’d not noticed. Some of our best buys were late in the day – we found a stall selling exactly the kind of colourful 1960s items you’d expect to see at Snygg, so we had to spend some money there. Then we found some of our beloved religious chalkware, and then some orange enamel ware, and then … and then …
You’ll have to visit the shop to see what we brought back. Too much to tell you about here. By the end of the day, we could barely muster the energy to lift a glass to our lips, but it would have been rude not to sample a couple more delicious Belgian beers. Recommended. We passed out in our beds after shopping for approximately 10 hours, before another early start to drive back home. That took a long time, and we may never recover. But we’re doing it all again soon – we owe it to our customers. And it’s the best job in the world.
Incidentally, we meant to take a lot more photos but we were too busy shopping. That’s the kind of place it was!
Written by Alex of Snygg