Day Three

Escape! Asia - - Free & Easy -

Helsinki’s De­sign Dis­trict en­cap­su­lates all that is chic in the city – and there’s even a tour­ing map (de­signdis­trict.fi/en) to help you nav­i­gate the high­lights. The De­sign Dis­trict col­lec­tive is a clus­ter of cre­ative busi­nesses brim­ming with the very best of local de­sign, in­clud­ing jewellers, an­tique shops, art gal­leries, and ap­parel bou­tiques. Mem­ber­ship to the col­lec­tive is strictly qual­ity con­trolled, and mem­ber pay a nom­i­nal an­nual fee that funds pro­mo­tional ef­forts.

Pop in to the Old Market Hall (Eteläranta, 00130 Helsinki; van­hakaup­pa­halli.fi/en) for some local pro­duce; this land­mark has served cus­tomers since 1888 and was re­opened in 2014 af­ter a com­plete ren­o­va­tion. Stall keep­ers who have been in busi­ness for decades have re­turned and are joined by at­trac­tive new restau­rants and cafés. Look out for stalls hawk­ing hand­crafted teas (we brought home a loose leaf in­fu­sion of straw­berry, net­tle, birch leaf and liquorice root), ex­otic cured meats and smoked seafood (ex­pect fresh or­ganic pork sausages, deshelled prawns larger than your fist, and more va­ri­eties of gravlax that you can shake a stick at), and even a veg­e­tar­ian store that spe­cialises in raw and sprouted food.

Just a short walk from the Old Market Hall, past the grand Helsinki Se­nate Square, you’ll find the pe­tite Helsinki De­sign Mu­seum (Alek­san­terinkatu 16; helsinginkaupung­in­museo.fi/en). This unique lit­tle show­case of mod­ern Helsinki his­tory even in­cludes a smell room, where vis­i­tors are in­vited to iden­tify a mys­tery smell – re­lated to life in Fin­land – that changes monthly. Just an al­ley­way away, the speakeasy of Trillby & Chad­wick (trill­by­chad­wick.fi) is so se­cre­tive that you need to call ahead for di­rec­tions. With no sig­nage and no avail­able im­ages (pho­to­tak­ing is pro­hib­ited within the premises), find­ing this place is an ad­ven­ture all in it­self, but once you do, the dimly lit in­te­ri­ors, Sher­lock Holmes-es­que vibe, and witty cock­tails are guar­an­teed to se­duce.

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