I didn’t think I would travel back to Helsinki so soon. I was there just two summers ago. In fact, I didn’t even plan to go to Helsinki; it was Beijing I was aiming for. Here’s how it happened: I recently realized that I racked up enough miles on my credit card to buy myself a long haul flight, and I ended up with a ticket from London to Beijing with a six hour layover in Helsinki.

Strawberries for sale at the market in Helsinki Finland

Not wanting to sit in the lounge and drink Champagne all day (well, it’s not that I didn’t want to…), I threw my bag in a locker, hopped on a Finnair bus, and rode into the city for the afternoon.

Finnair airport bus in Helsinki Finland

And what an afternoon it was. The mercury read 25 C (77 F), but it felt even warmer, and all of Helsinki was out enjoying the sunshine.

Building in Helsinki Finland

I alighted at the train station, a gorgeous Eliel Saarinen building in the Helsinki city center. I didn’t have a set plan for the day, so I did what Americans do best: I let my stomach lead the way.

Shop sign in Helsinki Finland

Gastric juices gurgling, it led me right across the street to a tiny food shop called Eat&Joy Farmers Market. Inside was a plethora of gustatory wonders from fine Finnish chocolate to local cheeses and meats. I was tempted to buy half the store and have myself a picnic.

Bags of flour in a shop in Helsinki Finland

I refrained, though, if only because my stomach was holding out for another Helsinki market. This was the famous outdoor market on the waterfront, Kauppatori.

Mushrooms at the Kauppatori market in Helsinki

Walking down the beautiful cafe-lined esplanade to the sea, I spotted the famous orange market stalls and my stomach gave a little squeeze of excitement.

Cherries for sale at the market in Helsinki Finland

The market sells both food and souvenirs, and there’s no need to guess which one I was there for. The summer strawberries and cherries called to me with their sweet red ripeness, and I worked my way down the aisles tasting their succulent nectar. When my berry appetite was sated, I tucked in for an amazing ham and cheese crepe at a small open-air market cafe.

Market stall at the Kauppatori market in Helsinki

After I finished eating I convinced my stomach to give the souvenir side of the Kauppatori Market a chance. I was happy to see that the vendor from whom I bought a beautiful silver tray two years ago was still there. Latimeria Arts and Crafts from Porvoo had the same amazing designs, and if I hadn’t been en route to Beijing, I would have bought some of them.

Dish from Latimeria Arts and Crafts in Porvoo at a market in Helsinki Finland

By the time I finished meandering through the market, my time in Helsinki was running out. I walked along another few streets enjoying the sun and the city, then headed back to the airport to travel to Beijing.

5 Comments on Lady Revisits Helsinki

  1. Hi, me a professor of aerospace engineering from India. accidentally bumped into your blog, and found it interesting, as much as the ripe summer strawberries! Enjoy!!

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