Burst of color: the street, the light and the food in Helsinki.
January 1, 2012 § Leave a comment
In Helsinki at 8:30 during a December morning, this is possibly what you would see: dark blue sky and drizzling rain while the puddle on the ground reflects the street’s Christmas decoration and colorful lights from the store. It was a mix of color in the dark which I didn’t expect to see in this city of the north. I thought it would be all snow and grey……But this is not the only thing I noticed about this city.
Walking around the city, it wasn’t long before I found that the Finns love to lit up their windows! For me this was something special and romantic. Everywhere I looked, I saw huge windows (I supposed this has to do with their lack of sunshine in a year) and there were always candles or the electric ones behind the glasses. I’m not sure if this was only for Christmas, but it was definitely a culture in such a scale I have never seen anywhere else before. So pretty. Oh! They also love to lit up candles in front of a store’s entrance, which the store is opened for business.
Helsinki is a coastal city, nowhere in the downtown area is too far off from the Baltic Sea. I love the smell of the ocean. I was born and grew up in Hong Kong, which is also a costal city, so I’m very used to being close to the water. Therefore, Helsinki’s proximity to water made me felt very much at home. However, in Hong Kong, you’ll never see the water right next to a pedestrian *this close* without fences, as our citizen would go crazy worrying about the safety of it. This says a lot about different cultures and mentality. Anyhow, this is a very interesting sight for me, very tempted to dip my fingers in it.
Approaching noon, I headed to the Old Market Hall (Kauppahalli) to grab some lunch. Being a seafood lover myself, I LOVE THIS PLACE. It wasn’t exactly a place to sit down and have a fancy meal, but who cares when you could get fresh and delicious food like this? Apart from a few cafes, you could find lots of fish, cheese, sweets, bread, tinned food, ham, dried meat, seafood and more fish. There are also a lot of specialty food here. In the middle of it, is a small area with some benches where you could sit and eat what you bought, as well as some standing tables. Of course, some stores have tables and chairs like a tiny restaurant. But I wanted to try as much as I can from different stores, so sitting down in one place would defeat the purpose of my visit. I bought some smoked salmon, whitefish, caviar, cured reindeer meat and a bit of bread. A bite of this, a bite of that, or rolled up the salmon and crowned it with caviar……It was simply a heavenly lunch. I don’t know what more can I ask for. All these are so fresh and much less expensive then I would pay in Hong Kong. Those who live in Helsinki, I envy you 😉
Note: In the summer, there’s a outdoor market on the Old Market Square, which is right around the corner of this food hall; Whereas in the cold winter, there are only a few stalls out there. Most of them sell fruits, plants, handcraft products and animal skin. However, the market hall inside would still be busy enough for a good food adventure……no matter how cold it is out there..