Hietalahti Market Square

We were walking to catch the bus yesterday but roadworks meant we had to walk further than anticipated. Which was great because we came across Hietalahti Markets in full swing.

Hietalahti Market Square

Hietalahti Market Square

This popular flea market is located near the water and is open Monday – Saturday and Sundays in summer. There was a huge range of wares for sale including second hand clothing, fabric, antiques, retro and vintage homewares and furniture. There were even a couple of stalls selling fresh produce direct from the growers. The Market Hall behind is home to a huge food market selling everything from fish and meat to cheese and pastries (more on that later).

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It’s as though Hercule Poirot is having a garage sale

We only had 15 minutes until our bus arrived and so we did a fairly quick round of all the tables and all the treasures they held. I will definitely be coming back though as my eyes were like huge saucers looking at all the retro dinnerware and furniture.

Something for everyone - even those without their own family portraits

Something for everyone – even those without their own family portraits

Just last week I was extolling the virtues of minimalism and how good it is to not have all our stuff here yet from New Zealand. But that was before we stumbled across Hietalahti Market Square…and maybe it doesn’t count if it used to be someone else’s stuff….?

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Bargains galore – and this 400€ pöytä (table)

On

Lounasaikaan (lunch time) at Market Square

Miko and I had a few errands to do today and ended up at Market Square. The markets there are open Monday -Saturday and on Sunday too in summer. For sale is a variety of seasonal produce as well as gifts and souvenirs. In winter there is a heated tent that you can sit inside to have your kahvi (coffee).

Christmas comes early for those who like reindeer!

Christmas comes early for those who like reindeer!

The first stall we came across was selling food from Lapland. On offer were potatoes and vegetables in a garlic sauce and reindeer cooked a few different ways – sautéed reindeer, reindeer soup, reindeer sausage….right next to the stall selling reindeer soft toys.

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Kahvi and munkki (coffee & doughnuts) on offer for May Day Eve

It’s the Finnish Vappu festival (Spring Festival and May Day Eve ) and stalls were offering kahvi (coffee) and munkki (doughnuts traditionally eaten this time of year ) all around the square. Other stalls had on display mountains of new season strawberries, potatoes and beans.

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Finland is known as the land of a thousand lakes and fish provides an important source of protein to the national diet. Miko and I visited a woman on her boat to buy some salmon cakes and fried Baltic herring for our lunch.

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Baltic herring is sited as one of the most economically important species fished in Finland. Not only is it good for the economy but it contains much needed Omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and vitamin D. Each year in October, Market Square hosts a Baltic Herring Fair, a Finnish tradition dating back to the 18th century. 

Fried Baltic herring & a salmon cake

Fried Baltic herring & a salmon cake

We sat beside the water and enjoyed our lunch until some uninvited seagulls joined us. I was taken with their black faces and wing tips but they scared my dining companion and we had to leave.

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