On a cloudy summer day, light rain showers plummeted on my head as I strolled across the one of a kind Finnish Helsinki Market Square. The sky was overcast with mammoth grey clouds and the streets were wet with glistening rainwater downpours. However, rather than conjuring up to find a shelter, I walked along with the cool breeze. It stopped raining shortly, making space for a virtual landscape painting of shoreline parked with gigantic cruise ships and a concourse of orange canopies. I was at the central square of Helsinki, a vibrant open-air marketplace relaxing with a devil-may-care attitude by the Baltic Sea.
I began my shopping excursion by browsing the entrancing trail of dinky shops, that cloaks a large part of this farmers-flea market. A shopping haven that sells everything from traditionally-handcrafted kitchenware in Finnish wood to a variety of distinct souvenirs such as the reindeer horn bottle opener. Although I was extremely thrilled at the sight of the dog souvenir section, a common sighting in Helsinki that instantly doubles the joy if you happen to have a doggo sibling at home. At least every other household in Scandinavia does! I ended up making the purchase of a reindeer horn cheese slicer, bottle opener, wooden gliding sealers for packaged food and wall stickers for my prized “travel wall” refrigerator.
The ‘Kauppatori’ stalls of Helsinki Market Square are dominated by the artwork displayed by the area’s most skilled artisans. It’s almost impossible to stop at one store and quench the thirst of acquiring a bounty of Finnish items. So, I walked a little more before getting my mitts on Moomin souvenirs, Lapp hats, Kuksa bowl, and Puukko, the Finnish hunting knife.
If only, my luggage could accommodate more, I wouldn’t have missed the imposing reindeer rug, indigenous fur clothing and a few bottles of Finnish Vodka. Next time, I suppose and lets ‘Kippis’ to that! A Finnish cheers, to shopping at a Market Square that marks one of the oldest tradeposts of the world. I’m told that Market Square is closed on the Sundays, therefore ensure to pay a visit only between Mondays through Saturdays.
You will be in for a treat if, you are an automobile enthusiast and if you happen to visit Market Square on the first Friday of the month. It’s on this day, Helsinki Market Square organises a rumbled up thrill, a mega car show of it’s kind. Food connoisseurs, on the other hand, must aim at attending the annual herring festival. Not only, will you experience authentic Finnish cuisine here, but also, learn a lot about this Baltic Sea forage fish. I happened to savour pickled Herring for breakfast, at my resident hotel. When I asked the waitstaff to fill me in with its benefits, I learned that Herring fish is loaded with cetoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, which gives it its peculiarly pungent taste. This fish is healthy, tasty and certainly worth tasting, while in Finland.
Jaded by the weight of shopping chronicles, I paved my way towards the food stalls. After much contemplation, and delving into the deliciousness quotient, of the food items on display, I chose to station myself at a stall, led by two lovely Finnish lady chefs, flaunting orange aprons, with matching boho style headbands. Before grabbing a seat, I approached the food sneeze-guard which exhibited Finland’s very own ‘fish and chips.’ And I ordered just that, with a cup of black coffee. On a different day, I savoured the food for braveheart, including a Finnish meat pastry, crunchy salmon with juicy caviar and a traditional doughnut for the dessert.
On this day, however, I did shop for fresh fruits before exiting the stall premises. By all means, the grand views of the shoreline enhanced both the joy of shopping and eating at Helsinki Market Square. After devouring a scrumptious-snack, I set out for a little inattentive squandering by the edge of the Baltic Sea. With every single step I took towards Esplanadi Park, my retina focused harder on the multifarious-objects forming the frame.
The maximum depth of the field did, in fact, encapsulate big cruise ships, colour tuning street lights and concatenation of old vintage hanging street lamps. Shortly, the linchpin was the architectural craftsmanship that encircles this shopping haven. From copper turrets of Uspenski Cathedral to the calming shades of Presidentinlinna (the Presidential Palace), Helsinki showcases an extraordinary streak of old-world charm through architectonics. Other notable designs in this area, worth admiring are Helsingin Kaupungintalo (the City Hall), the Guard House, and the domed Helsingin Tuomiokirkko Cathedral. Each epitomising unparallel succession of grandeur, while boasting a virtual anthology of political and cultural heritage. Never before, have I ever visited a beautiful Market Square, such as the one in Helsinki.
In conclusion, the day ended with me procuring free maps and pens from the Helsinki City Hall. Shopping, however, was overwhelmingly satisfying!