Journey to Hakaniemi via Helsinki’s Railway station
Walking back to Helsink from the Sibelius Monument, my family decided that we visit the markets around the city. Well, markets being those that were not Market Square since we’ve been there way too many times since we got into the city.
With that in mind, we set out to use the trams to one market that is way on the other side of Helsinki called Hakaniemi Market Halls. If you’ve seen the show by Andrew Zimmerman visiting Finland, yeap..that’s the one and the same market hall where he tries the lamprey.
The easiest way to Hakaniemi is by taking Tram 7 from where we were waiting at the time. However, something must have gone wrong with the tram because we waited for quite a bit and our tram didn’t arrive. There were several others that passed by but not the exact one that we needed to get to the market.
Somehow or rather, we managed to talk ourselves into walking over to the railway station in one piece despite the weather trying to freeze our butts off. Woooo it was coooollllddd. Lawwddd our South East Asian skins were cold AF. An elderly lady even happily noted to us that the change of weather was so sudden and whether we were feeling very cold before she just walked off smiling.
Okay…nice meeting you too, lady. It was random but you were nice. So, either way WE LOVE YOU! Because you’re so random and you made our day…..
But we did get to see a really cool looking car on the way to the station while walking through random lanes and streets or what have you. My aunt was like ‘oooooo take a photo of me’. Noted. Photographer niece at your service. Bam!
I can’t remember how long we walked for because we were talking so much on the way over about architecture and how I wanted to bring my parents and my cousins over next time I come back. Why? Because I love the country and it’s so peaceful.
By the time we got to the railway station, quite a few people were waiting for the tram that took us. Instead of taking Tram 7, we took tram Tram 6 to the market hall. The weather was getting pretty bad by then but it was raining…only colder. We were really grateful that it was warmer when we got onto the tram. Hallelujah!
Hakaniemi Market Hall
Wooohoo! We made it after being stuffed into a tram packed to the brim with people. It wasn’t as stuffy at our stop but it sort of grew into a tuna can in the next few stops. Anyway, when we got to the market hall, I was surprised that it was relatively quiet compared to the one at Market Square. Maybe it was slightly further away…or maybe it was because we went on a weekday. But one thing we loved about the atmosphere that it was less hectic so we had more time to just relax and browse without being too caught up in usual market-type buzz.
But here it is, the Hakaniemi Market Hall.
Behold! All that food, glorious food!
I internally drooled myself to heaven (if that’s even possible). Laawwddd. Now I would like to mention that if you’re ever in Hakaniemi’s Market Hall, please visit this particular seller, Holmberg, if you’re into buying Reindeer meat to bring back for whatever reason. He’s really patient and tries his best to accommodate and answer all your questions.
The butcher is awesome and he actually gave us free reindeer snacks to bring back home. Mr Reindeer butcher man, you’re the best! I’d definitely come back next time to the same shop. Because, well..look at those reindeer meat. He has smoked reindeer salami and even fresh reindeer meat, although he has already sealed them by the time we got there. Since it’s already sealed so you can definitely bring them home with you, especially if you live on the other side of the world and would like your family or friends back home to try it.
They have seafood, meat, baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and all that good stuff. We spent a good 30 to 45 minutes in the hall just browsing the different shops inside before heading outside.
While walking out of the market, I saw this. A cat. On a leash. *mind blown* I laughed WAY too much at this. Because what were the odds that we would see a cat on a leash. Plus, look at that cat…i can’t handle small furry animals. They make me mush and want to pet them.
Outside of the market hall, there are also market stalls that you can look at. Although not as big as those at the Market Square, they have pretty much similar things although more aimed towards fresh groceries and food rather than souvenirs which, to us, was a slightly refreshing experience.
Oh! If you’re in the area, make sure to drop by this stall. they sell really good Karjalanpirraka (Karelian pasties) and Korvapuusti (Finnish cinnamon rolls) in packs. Grab some coffee (or tea) and you’re good to go! We’re so guilty of spending money on food. hehe.
Look at these Karelian pasties and Cinnamon rolls. We ate them for daaaayyyysss.
Old Market Hall
Since we were on a whole market hall adventure that afternoon, I suggested another hall. The MOST famous Market Hall in Helsinki is, of course, the old Market Hall located between the Market Square and the Olympia Terminal. Oh llaawwwddd I was so excited. Because I’ve only passed by the market and not actually entered in the last time I visited Helsinki back in 2011/2012.
A lot of tourists flock to this market hall, especially those from Russia, Estonia, Sweden and Latvia thanks to the cruise ships that come via the Silja Line and Viking Line. If I could sum up the atmosphere at this market hall, I would say that it’s busy, loud but fun. Compared to Hakaniemi, they have more stalls that you could eat and take your time while doing it as well.
Browsing around the stalls, i found a small shop that were selloing tinned goods. By the Gods, they were selling Cloudberry jam and Nordic blackcurrants! Best thing ever! I bought one of each because…I can. HAH! I’ve been dying to try Cloudberry jam for quite some time.
Reindeer and Bear Pate? Well now…HELLO! Wonder how they taste like….
More reindeer goodness. Vegans…please avert thy eyes. It’s gonna be a rough one here on out.
Then there was this…a whole row of Wild Board, Bear, Elk and Reindeer meat. In tins. Oh sweet heartburn of goodness.
Once done with the mini exploration, we headed to Senate Square, a little ways away from the Old Market Hall.
If you’ve ever seen pictures of Helsinki, you would definitely see a white building in the distance that overlooks a square. The building, being the Helsinki Cathedral, is a pretty cool place. But this section isn’t about that, but rather, the Senate Square.
Look at that shot! Kind of reminds me of something that you see on postcards, no? BWAHAHAAH I’m good…I’m real good. BWAHAHAHAH Plus, the statue of the late Russion Empreror, Alexander II, is pretty cool..even with that random bird casually making its presence known on top of his head.
The square is usually bustling with events but the period of us visiting, there wasn’t that many events lined up. If i’m not mistaken, it’s usually busy probably around August onwards. Oh well, you win some you lose some. hahaha
And with every single photo of mine, here we have a wild Othi in the wilderness. *pats own back* no one will remember me so I might as well proceed with the inner Othi reveal. Woot woot!
From the bottom up, the Helsinki Cathedral looks pretty intimidating…As if God is silently judging you for all your past sins. With that in my mind, we made our way up. I walk pretty fast, it being my normal speed, so I was pretty much zooming up the stairs…only stopping to take random pictures.
Me and my butt shots reign supreme.
Seagull sitting in the cold and rain. But it was so cute just sitting there.
Okay, I’m not gonna lie but the view from the top of the stairs at the Helsinki Cathedral is pretty sweet. People looking like ants entering into cardboard trams. Buildings looking like your Monopoly set’s buildings. Wondering whether anyone has fallen from the stairs. Or whether anyone has ever played with kites at the square when it’s sunny. My train of thought kept going on and on. But really…doesn’t anyone ever wonder about these things?
While wondering about the state of people down below and wrapping up our raincoats (yeap, we brought them over from Malaysia), we walked into the cathedral.
I internally squealed again. So beauuuutttiiifffuuuulllll. Sure, it shows on picture but the feel you get is SO different when you step into the Cathedral.
Architecture in here is pretty awesome. I love visiting churches but this one is just so…WOOAAAHHHH. Plus, look at the lighting fixtures, people! Look at it. Also, like the Temppeliaukio Chirch, they also run events in the evenings once the church is officially close for the day to visitors. So, do check them out.
Since we decided to take the tram back once we were done with the Helsinki Cathedral, my uncle suggested that we take away some yummy Poro burgers (Reindeer burgers) from the stall that we say a few days ago at the Market Square.
This stall. That burger. That price. Oh my heart metaphorically imploded in my chest. The amount of food that this stall sold is ridiculous. But oooo that Poro burger was interesting. The lady that we initially ordered from did not understand English but as luck would have it, her granddaughter was there so helped translate everything. The rain, which started again when we left the Cathedral was still going like crazy.
I protected my Rudolph burger like my life depended on it. Nah. just kidding. I held onto it because it was hot and it helped keep my hands warm. It was still piping hot when we brought it back to our accommodations. Smelled so good, I was slightly drooling while I took this photo. That and also because I was hungry from all the rain and the cold. Nom nom nom nom.
Laaawwwdddd bucket list checked! Rudolph…your death and subsequent sacrifice to be made into a delicious burger were not in vain. You were cherished. Amen. HAHAHAHAHA
And with that munching of burgers, we ended our day…all by 7pm.
<to be continued>
Sneak peak of Part 5 of the Nordic Trip Series!
Can you guess where we’re off to this time?