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Helsinki Market Square

While on vacation in Finland, the last city I visited was the capital Helsinki. I would have loved to ‘play tourist’ a bit while in the gorgeous and vibrant city, but I was there for a much less touristy reason – the annual Tuska Open Air Metal Festival!

Since I was spending three whole days in metalhead bliss seeing some of my favourite bands, live, in their home countries (I’m sure any North American fan of Scandinavian/Nordic metal can agree what a treat this is!) I didn’t really go out too much to eat while in the city. Most evenings I was heading home from the concert grounds too late to get more than just hamburgers (there was both a McDonalds and a Hessburger close to my hotel), and for other meals there were several vendors at the concert grounds, plus there was a grocery store a block away, and across the street was an open-air marketplace.

Market in Helsinki

Market in Helsinki

The marketplace was amazing – bustling with activity! There were many stalls with vendors selling fresh berries like the strawberries above (blueberries were also plentiful!) and many selling flowers as well. There were also vendors selling other fresh produce, nuts, preserved meats, and a few selling consumer goods like leather purses. It reminded me a lot of the Market Square in Turku, and made me envious that we don’t have neighbourhood markets like this in Calgary.


Just like in Turku, we discussed how lovely it would be to bring some of those lovely fresh flowers back to our hotel room – if only the room had a vase!

As a note, this is just one of the market squares (in the Kallio district) – not “the” Market Square, which is near Helsinki’s South Harbour.  The harbour front market square was similar – but was so exceptionally busy that I didn’t get a chance to take any photos. They had similar items for sale, but had a lot more consumer goods along with produce, and seemed to cater more to the tourist market due to their location. (I even saw Reindeer fur items for sale!)

Neat Angel-Demon statue in downtown Helsinki

Neat Angel-Demon statue in downtown Helsinki

I adored my trip to Finland, and can’t wait to go back again. Before going I did look for sushi places, and had picked out a few, however because of my concert schedule, and my travel companion’s disinterest in sushi, I never had the chance to try anything.  Helsinki is known for having amazing food though, like the modern take on South Asian cuisine at Farang. Blogger Foodie In Finland shared a blog post recently – check it out! http://foodieinfinland.blogspot.ca/2012/03/farang-helsinki.html

Want more posts from Helsinki? Follow the Helsinki tag, here on Happy Sushi Belly, or check out the other posts from my trip to Finland with the Finland tag!

If you’re interested in my music travels, check out Throwing Horns Abroad – where I’m sharing some of my music-centric travel adventures!

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Visiting the market square

Turku's Market Square

Turku’s Market Square

In Calgary, we don’t really have a “market square” – but I noticed in the Finnish cities I visited that these central meeting places are pretty common. Smaller central areas have one, while in Helsinki I passed a few. These open spaces are multi-purpose… meeting places, activity places, space for weekend and summertime markets, places to grab a bite to eat on the way home…

In Calgary we certainly have open spaces in the central core – there’s Shaw Millennium Park, a skateboard park maintained by the city, Olympic Plaza where there are regular concerts and cultural events, and Prince’s Island Park where large events like Canada Day and Shakespeare in the Park are held.  There is Eau Claire Market close to the island, which started as an indoor marketplace with the promise of a Calgary-version of Vancouver’s Granville Island, but has evolved into a poorly filled shopping mall with only one very tiny grocery-style store. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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I don’t know what I’m eating…

Despite my love of fish eggs, raw scallops and exotic fruits, I don’t think that anyone would ever call me a particularly adventurous eater. Still, while on a trip to Finland, I had nearly no choice but to try new, unknown things due partially to the different culture and different tastes, but also due in part simply the language differences!
I visited an open-air pop-up food market in the medieval city if Turku in June, and there was a vendor selling dried fruit and nuts. All of the signage was in Finnish, but most also had little pictures, (though not all) which was sometimes beneficial since the dried product rarely kooks like the fresh one. (Just look at grapes and raisins for example….). Of course, the Finnish signage might have said “candied” or “dried” or “salted”… but without Internet on my phone to run my translation app… I’d never know!

So… I picked out a few things (along with some fantastic Italian-style nougat)… having no idea what they would be like, and in one case, what it even was!

'dried' lemon

‘dried’ lemon

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Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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More of Turku’s Open Air Continental Market

This is a continuation from a previous post about the open-air market along the river in Turku, Finland. The market made for a wonderful wander down the river as we headed from the gorgeous Turku Cathedral (first dedicated in 1300) towards the Tourist Information office, and then to a fantastic little spot for lunch (which I mentioned in an earlier post). The market had so much to look at and tempt our tastebuds; hopefully you’ll enjoy the photos almost as much as we enjoyed our experience!

Maybe it will even encourage you to consider a Finnish holiday of your own?

French bakery

Open-air 'continental market' in Turku

French bakery in the open-air ‘continental market’ in Turku

Samples of pepperoni from an Italian-style deli, samples of cheese from another… It would be hard to pick the best place! An ice cream shop was on location and had a short but steady line of customers, while a French bakery advertised just by the many people we passed, carrying loaves of French bread under their arms.

We ended up coming back at the end of our day to pick out a few things from the bakery – our Canadian French finally came in handy in the market full of Finns! (Luckily, most places we went, the people we spoke with did speak English, so we were lucky in that aspect!)

The smell of the bakery was wonderful, with all of the freshly-baked aromas on the slight breeze throughout the marketplace.

Sweet shop

One shop on the other end of the market had large, shallow pans of what I think was fudge. The signs had blown off, and the staff were matching signage with ingredients with the coloured treats.

Open-air 'continental market' in Turku

Sweet treats in the open-air ‘continental market’ in Turku

I would have loved to try some – but there were so many things to look at, and only so much time!

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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River-side open-air market in Turku

On my recent trip to Finland, I visited the Medeival town of Turku. Not far from the tall cathedral near the old market square was a street market, and it was wonderful to check out while walking down the Aura River (the heart of this lovely city) towards our other destinations.

Open-air 'continental market' in Turku

Open-air ‘continental market’ in Turku

The market seemed to be a pop-up market, not a regular market, and I saw a few signs that said “continental market” though I wasn’t really sure at the time if that was the name of the market, or the name of the stall that was displaying the sign – still, there was too much to see and sample to worry too much about names and things, especially since it’s not like I anticipate coming back to Turku monthly (all the way from western Canada). (Though I do hope to get back in a year or two – I just loved Finland so much!)

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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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