Tag Archives: flea market

On the first spring(ish) days and shopping centers

So far, nothing interesting has happened this week – as the weather has been more or less like this view from my window from yesterday… Well, today it was a wonderful sunshine.

Our building intendent bravely cleaning the snow from the patio in a snow storm yesterday.

Anyway, I’ll go back to last weekend. My flu is now gone, but then I was still feeling a bit weak and we decided to “take it easy”. As normally happens when you decide something like that well also this time I ended up having quite an active weekend.

Our Saturday started by cleaning the entire house. Nothing more of that but it surely was a good thing to do, as we have been away the two last weekend and the house was “a bit” covered with dust… After this we visited 2 flea markets, a big one called Valtteri and a posh one called Kaivarin Kanuuna. I wrote about these two earlier in my blog Fleamarkets make you happy. Why?

What did we find? Well this time my boyfriend was very lucky: he found 8 good CDs for only 4,5€ in total. He even said before leaving home that he’d really like to buy a CD of Smashing Pumpkins and surprise – this is what he got for only 0,50€!

I was also lucky, as I found a pretty and warm woolen sweater for 8€. I put it on today to work and 2 colleagues commented how pretty it was. And it’s always so nice to tell that I bought it from a flea market.

In the afternoon we drove a friend to the Helsinki-Vantaa airport. The lucky guy was going to Buenos Aires for 2 weeks’ holiday and I felt light jealousy… However, we got “the second best option”, as from the airport we drove to a big shopping mall nearby, Jumbo, in Vantaa. (Attached there is also a big spa-hotel Flamingo.)

This was the first time for both of us. The idea was to buy 1) a frame for my painting and 2) a birthday present for my friend. Well, it was impossible to concentrate. We wondered around and I started to feel dizzy because of the flu and my boyfriend got really hungry. Shopping malls are unreal places, they look more or less the same all over the world and everyone seems to know the “what to do””: consume, consume, consume. To make it nicer, you get some warmth, (bad) music and food and drinks for the whole family.

There was even some “entertainment.” I started to feel even sicker when I saw young women dressed in pink as Barbies who were helping little girls to pimp their Barbie with different dresses, hair etc. It was quite surrealistic to see the “massacre” of abandoned Barbies and Ken’s lying on the floor.


A massacre of Barbies and Kens on the shopping mall floor

My Saturday night finished in Navy Jerry’s for a good friend’s birthday. This new bar near my home in Kamppi is decorated with marine style and has a good list of rum based drinks. Mmmm – unfortunately (or maybe luckily) we didn’t have the chance to taste them all! Next time it shall be… A tip: especially I liked a drink with rum, lime juice and ginger ale. (Is there a name for it, by the way?)


A friend getting a taste of the rum list of Navy Jerry's

As if this wasn’t enough, on Sunday we went for a walk in the forest. It’s amazing, but only some 20 minutes away from the centre of Helsinki like in Paloheinä there are nice forests and nature paths to walk or to ski on. The sun was shining and it was only -1C. Perfect. Lots of people skiing around and riding toboggans with their kids – or without, as this is a good sport for people of any age. And it really makes you forget a little flu.


Sunday is a good day to enjoy a toboggan ride and some hot chocolate afterwards..

To finish with the day, my boyfriend cooked tortilla de patatas an then we played some chess! Something I haven’t done for about… 10 years. So naturally I lost, but it was great fun. And I held on for an hour, so it wasn’t that bad!

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Flea markets make you happy. Why?

You can find kirpputoris’ (flea market, also literally) all over Helsinki. There are tiny ones put up among friends in someone’s livingroom and huge ones organised in old warehouses and such.  There are the daily self-service ones and the ones that attract hundreds of people to sell their extra stuff in a big hall early in the morning.

Valtterin kirpputori is such a place. A couple of times I’ve been selling there with my friend. We woke up at six, packed our sandwiches with all the stuff we hoped to sell and joined the crowd. Valtteri takes place mostly in weekends in an old warehouse in the neighbourhood of Vallila. The atmosphere is special.

I love kirpputoris. Why?

  • For me, kirpputori brings out a special solidarity among people. We are all there, together exchanging: one’s trash is another one’s treasure.
  • Buying gets personal. You chat with the person from who you are buying a thing and hear the history of the item. Today I bought a blouser and found out that the owner had bought it from Paris and it’s been dear to her. Nice.
  • It’s ecological, so you feel better buying, or “giving a new life to an item”.
  • You save money and find things and cool clothes that you never would at H&M etc. Kirpputoris’ got popular in Finland during the recession in 1990s. Today my boyfriend bought 11 good CDs for 6 euros.
  • All kinds of people go there: snobbish ladies and poor students, immigrants and even children (with a little help for the parents.)
  • It feels so good to get rid of things! I just packed 3 big sacks of clothes for kirpputori. And it’s a special feeling to meet the person who will be the next happy owner of your jeans, book, toaster, mug…
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Snow angels and flea market shopping

Saturday! And finally some snow and sunshine in Helsinki. One of the best walks you can do in Helsinki on a day like this is to wander around Kaivopuisto neighbourhood and greet the cold sea. This place is wonderful also in the summer – a completely different experience to see all the sunbathing people heading towards the many little islands near Helsinki to have a picnic and a swim and, while waiting for the ferry, eating ice cream from the local Helsingin jäätelötehdas kiosks.

Not it’s January, so you can make some snow angels (check the basic model on the photo) and admire the pale light of the winter sun on the cold water… just beautiful.

To warm up, we dropped by in one of my favourite flee markets, a bit posh but still nice Kaivarin Kanuuna. This time surprisingly, I found nothing for me but the boyfriend found some classic albums by Verve and Oasis for only 1€.

We continued our walk to Wanha Kauppahalli, (The Old Market Hall), where among the many sellers there is a wonderful place to get warm: Soppakeittiö (Soup Kitchen). They offer a menu including a couple of soups every day, and normally the taste does not disappoint you. During the weekends, the queues might be long, though.

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