Helsinki was more of a stopover on my Lapland trip with Nokia. When I arrived, it was 12.00 midnight. All I did was to take a taxi and crash at the Airport Holiday Inn. Now what would I give to take a taxi without any fear at midnight in Delhi but then I wonder if it will ever happen in my lifetime? However, I digress.
The next morning I was back at the airport to take a flight to Kittila. I met Helsinki properly after I came back from Lapland. The first evening we went to the city center by taking a tram. People speak English easily in Finland and that was quite helpful.
There were four of us. The agenda for the evening was shopping and dinner. There were at least four instances in one evening when men held doors at shopping complexes for all the four of us. Now that made such a favorable impression on me!
I was also happy to see the local people clad warmly. Otherwise there have been times when to me it felt like Indian winter, people in other nations went ahead and declared summer! No such confusion at Helsinki, everyone agreed that it was still winter in March.
The same evening, I spotted this limousine and made a mental note to check out what was this club all about. Looks like it was a strip club! As it was a Saturday evening, the roads were full of people. In fact we had to try a few restaurants before we could find a seat for four. The weather was still cold but minus 3-4 felt surprisingly bearable after -22 of Kittila! Even though we were late in packing up for the night I promised myself a few hour’s walk in the morning at Helsinki.
The next day morning I got up before the alarm went off. But all I wanted was more sleep. I somehow dragged myself out of the bed from Hilton Strand so that I could steal a few moments at Helsinki. I started walking around the hotel first, the frozen lake looked cold and forbidding in the morning light. There were others who were up and about, either on a morning jog or just enjoying the sun.
I eventually found my way to the Helsinki Cathedral again. Early in the morning it was used by the locals as a jogging track, particularly the stairs. I enjoyed the cold and the clear weather. While I was about to leave the first tour bus discarded the excited tourists at the cathedral. For me, it was almost time to head back home.