The Russian Market

Two of the days that I’ve been here, I’ve gone to the Russian market, over out of the Old Town, past the train station. It’s hard for me to explain it in a way that will give you a sense of the place but here’s my try:

First, a picture, of one aisle of the many-aisle market:

It is like if every garage sale you’ve ever been to set up shop in tin shacks and table in the melting snow, in a kind of sketch neighborhood in Tallinn, Estonia. And also all the thrift stores. And the little corner ethnic grocery stories. And all the sellers were 45+ years old. And spoke Russian. And had each maintained a specific collection of kinds of objects (one table: watches, power cords, socks. another: camera batteries, old bras, tweezers) for the past 20 years and were displaying those collections now.

It is exactly what I imagine the black market to be like, except maybe on the black market they had a smaller selection of items.

Highlights include: legit Russian fur hats from the actual USSR, about a zillion pairs of shoes, gravestones (coffins sold elsewhere, I guess), lots of cranberries at the grocery stalls, and old cameras I had to quickly move away from to keep myself from buying.

It’s pretty great. Go there sometime, if you get the chance.


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