After we navigated Brussels for the afternoon, Tracy, Jamie and I navigated our way up to Northern Belgium in the adorable and quaint town of Tongeren. Goedele (pronounced Hoo-de-la) from The Old Red Barn, a local retailer of Chalk Paint® and Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint suggested we stay in this cute little Bed and Breakfast.
It was completely delightful with three bedrooms and a small living room. Plus, free wifi. And, the strangest breakfast I have ever seen. Sausage, ham and cheese. My husband would have been in breakfast heaven.
Goedele told me that the best place in Belgium to go picking was at the Tongeren Flea Market which takes place, every Sunday, year round from 6:00-1:00. I was like a child before Christmas...I couldn't sleep the entire night before. I don't know if it was the excitement of the flea or the anticipation of getting up so early (which I ended up not doing).
Tongeren is the oldest city in Belgium, and I read that the antique market is one of the largest European fleas! Lining the brick streets and zig-zagging through the older part of town are vendors selling anything from vintage European goods like dough bowls and classic furniture to stranger things like...
Jesus. "What up Dawg!?" There were actually a lot of religious relics but this one in particular made us laugh.
"What does the Fox say?" Stuffed foxes were everywhere.
I'm sorry, but I think those dishes are ghastly...but I still wanted to own just one! And, I saw at least four or five sets of vintage china dishes with fish on them.
There were gobs of Roman Empire relics throughout the flea market. The vendor selling this knife said it was over 2,000 years old.
What I wanted but couldn't come home with was this traveling desk organizer. It was intrically detailed and came with the original key, ink jars and the pen thingy with the feather on top (I'm having a total brain fart as to what that's called). This was 675 euros...about 900 American dollars.
I only brought one extra suitcase to pack full of finds, so I had to be extremely selective in what I purchased. I was really focused on European Ephemera because it was easy to take home and would pack nicely.
I couldn't help but think of Sally (my original California flea market partner) all day. We would always joke that no matter when we went to the flea market, be it in December, February or July, it was always hot. ALWAYS! Well, not this one. It was down right frigid!
Once all three of us were loaded to the max with finds, we hit the road and drove 45 minutes north of Tongeren to Westerlo, Belgium. Home of the Old Red Barn, owned by Goedele Francois.
Before I left LA, I searched for all of the Chalk Paint® retailers in Europe, hoping that there would be a few within driving distance of Luxembourg. Goedele's place was the closest and most logical one for me to visit because she sold both of the product lines that I carry!
We got to visit her house, meet her adorable family and check out her workshop space. It was so much fun comparing shop notes, talking colors and getting inspired all over again to paint.
Meeting Goedele in person, in Europe was one of the highlights of the entire trip and I was so glad that we took the time to see her!
I ended up filling an entire suitcase with fun finds from Tongeren. I will share pictures of those later once I go through the pain staking process of figuring out how to sell stuff that I desperately want to keep!