Monday, 13 May 2013

Exploring Reykjavik's Kolaportid Flea Market

I returned from a trip to Reykjavik a week ago, but I'm still in a bit of an Icelandic bubble, to be honest. The city blew me away with its colourful buildings, quirky bars and super-friendly people - these guys would probably give you a kidney if you asked nicely enough. There were also some fantastic shops, but the one thing that stopped me splurging too much was the price.

Sunday morning flea market view in Reykjavik
 A peek into the bustling hub of Kolaportid.

Male mannequin pointing to menswear display in market
This way to menswear, sir.

Without any sort of Topshop/Primark/New Look equivalents dotted along the main streets of Laugavegur and Hverfisgata, I was instead faced with some difficult decisions. Should I spend £120 on an Icelandic woolen jumper or £150 on a butterfly-print scarf from the posh department store, Atmo? Somehow I couldn't quite do it. I knew there would be a cheaper alternative somewhere, and lo and behold I found it at the Kolaportid flea market, which is held every weekend in a warehouse between the Old Harbour and the Harpa Concert Hall. It's free to wander around, but make sure you bring some money, as you're likely to be parting with some cash along the way.

Trolls, Victorian dolls and plastic toys for sale
Trolls and Victorian dolls vie for attention.

Neon signs and phone covers in an indoor market
Want a cover for your mobile or a copy of a Tintin DVD? Sorted.

The stalls in the main market area contained everything from toys and books to clothing. As with most UK flea markets, there was an army surplus area, where you could pick up cheap bags, badges and jackets that were ripe for being customised.

Cheap polyester leggings with skulls, sweets and stripes
 Raise your leg if you like a bargain.

Second-hand books in a flea market
Take your pick from the books on offer.

Meanwhile, the rest of the warehouse was dedicated to food, though much of it wasn't very vegetarian-friendly. Luckily my friend and I don't get too squeamish and don't mind meat, but if you're not partial to it then I'd skip this bit. We saw a pig's head just casually plonked on top of someone's stall, whilst some squirm-inducing entrails sat below it. We then headed round to the fish area, hoping to see some hakarl (putrefied shark meat, supposedly an Icelandic delicacy), but they were fresh out of it, so we skipped to the confectionery department, where there was some kind of treat called an Olsen-Olsen - perhaps the candy equivalent of the Olsen twins?

Hakarl and other fish in a market in Iceland
 Wake up and smell the fish.

Icelandic liquorice-based sweets
Spot the Olsen twins in the centre.

My best bargain was a book on palmistry, which cost me about £1 and is probably going to involve some painstaking translation work with the help of Google, but I reckon it'll be worth it.

Second-hand palmistry book on Icelandic rocks
This translates, quite sweetly, as 'Promise Readings'.

If you want to visit the market then you'll find it at Tryggvagotu 19 in 101 Reykjavik, open from 11am-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

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