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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

Peek-a-boo! A Shop for all seasons (well, all kinds of oddities anyway) - KesterTester109

Updated: Mar 22

Watering cans, plastic bottles, hosepipes and inlaid somethings - they've probably got socks, car tyres and laptops round the back to boot - UPDATED

Photo: These guys are clearly out to found a domestic hypermarket chain, though I suspect they might find a better choice of FMCG goods would improve their cashflow!

But where could this be? And what are these items on dominating the photo on the left?

Apologies for not keeping up with the testers of late - KT108 is still open for entries if you'd like to buy me two beers - but I promise to sort out the draw in the next few days.

These traders remind me of an emporium way up in the Douro Valley in Portugal, when I first went there in 1971. Today, it's all tourism, boat cruises and winery visits, but 50 years ago there was none of that, Portugal was fighting colonial wars in Africa. It was a poor country, and the upper reaches of the Douro were definitely dirt poor.

I think it was the village of Tua, just outside the railway station, there was a big barn which sold everything from plastic buckets and taps and chairs to smoked river fish - something tells me those fish wouldn't have passed EU food safety standards of today.

Anyway - back on topic. The photo above is somewhere other than Portugal, much nearer to our Danube home base. For your first step towards global celebrity status, answers please via the site messaging system or in an email - kindly put KT109 in the title so I don't miss your entry - I can't afford any complaints from the European Competition Regulator in Brussels :)

And have a good week!

UPDATE: Hmmmm, this one is proving difficult. How to give you another clue without giving away the whole shebang? Well, the items to the left are hand-made wooden cradles. Local mothers presumably still use these to gently rock their children to sleep, telling them fairy tales in a tongue baffling to the vast majority in this part of the world.

I reckoned when I saw them that some bright entrepreneur should get them made in bulk, pack 'em in parts and ship them off to Paris or London where they would sell for ten times the price they could fetch in this location. Perhaps, indeed, someone has alreay done this - but there might be a ton of customs duties n paperwork involved.

Does this help?

UPDATE – Competitors and Winner(s)! 

Many apologies for taking SO long over this one. It's proved awfully tough.

First in was Tom Chilton, who felt so confident as to write:

If this is correct, feel free to disqualify me for insider info!”

(Tom does know a bit about where I've been over the years, you see.) But in his main answer, he opined:

They are rocking cradles being sold in Istanbul, probably somewhere around the Covered Market in the mid-eighties, possibly 1984!”

Mihály Hollós thought it might be closer to home.

Hello Kester,

Hope you’re fine.

Re KT109, the pic was not at all definitely, but maybe taken in Slovakia.

Best, Misi”

Amy Modly then swept in:

Hi Kester,

The contraptions seem like cribs to me. As to where they and the gentlemen are...judging from the style of the dark beret worn by the man facing the camera it could be Hungary were it not for the white-capped man's headgear, which is more like a fez, their facial features, as well as the design character of the goods on display = Turkey? Croatia? Bosnia? Fun tester, Kester!

All bests,


Hubert “Poirot” Warsmann was also of an oriental mindset.

KT 109 - This is distinctively from Turkey or an area with historic Turkish influence. The items to the left are traditional baby cribs. The picture could have been taken anywhere among Turkey, Albania, Bosnia or Kosovo. If proximity is any guide, I would think more Balkans than Turkey.”

Zsolt Maroti then had a stab:

Szia Kester

Gjakova, Kosovo ?

Just a wild guess based on some random google search. zs”

I thought it was Gjakovo, Zsolti – but maybe it's changed, or maybe the 'a' is a case ending or some such?

And that was the sum of the contestants.

And the winner is … well, nobody got it exactly. It is Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, at the northern end of the 'main drag' through the city, near the Hotel Sara (which seems to have gone more upmarket, and certainly more up-priced, since I was there, judging by their website). I think it was something like a modest EUR 35 a night when I was there 2009-2010.

That trip, I drove down, picking up my FT colleague Neil Mc from Belgrade, and arrived about 11.00hrs. This was for an FT special report. I then opened my computer, only to see an email from London saying: Kosovo cancelled.

Well, when I replied, to say we had just arrived, they decided to let this one go – it was only to be two pages, and they had made a policy decision not to run any more two-pagers. It meant we wrote up the last ever two-page special report. I'll see if I can find a copy and put up a piccie.

Kosovo - one of the most interesting places in Europe to cover for the FT.

Anyway, as for KT109, I think we can call it a draw, as Hubert and Zsolt both put in Kosovo. (Amy was close, but ... ) And it means we can all buy each other a beer each at the next opportunity.

Now how about KGT111 – that strange Hungarian sentence? It's still open for entries, so please take a sleuth over the weekend. :)

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