Getting to Helsinki (again)

After Thailand, and before I went north to Oulu, I had a few days in Helsinki. I had visited Helsinki back in 2013 when I travelled around Finland and Norway with my dad.

The roof of a gallery next to the hotel and the shopping complex in central Helsinki.

My flight from Thailand was on Norwegian, which I had never flown before. Marketed as a budget airline they make you pay for quite a few things on the flight, like snacks. I upgraded to a ‘premium economy’ ticket, by the time I added essentials like luggage, and a seat reservation it was pretty close to a premium ticket.

The plane was a new Boeing 787, and the premium economy cabin was extremely comfortable. While snacks weren’t free, we all got one proper meal included in our fare, and you can order snacks from the infotainment screen extremely easily. They just magically appear from over your shoulder a moment later.

It was the only use I had for the very new and shiny infotainment system on the plane. I managed to get through a few movies and TV shows on my iPad, and played a bunch of Nintendo Switch games, before getting my battery out of my backpack and recharging everything.

I was seated next to some Norwegians who were extremely concerned I was an Australian travelling to Scandinavia in the middle of winter. Australia is a long way from Finland, and it gets very cold, I was told.

My flight was from Bangkok to Stockholm, and then I had a local / domestic intra-EU flight over to Helsinki.

The minimum number of screens

After collecting my luggage to walked out the unmanned customs checkpoint and across to a line of taxis. I was still wearing shorts and lightweight shoes. I had made one concession and put a jumper on. I just told my body to pretend it was still warm and to ignore the weather. That worked all the way to the taxi, and from the taxi to the hotel.

After settling in my hotel room I decided it would be a good idea to have some dinner. I put on long pants, and my beanie, and my jumper. I didn’t think I’d need my jacket, thermals, and boots just to pop outside for a moment for something to eat.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

I shuffled down the sidewalk, very slowly, trying not to slip or fall on the ice, trying to look as relaxed as possible while hiding my hand in my pockets and shivering. It was cold. So much colder than I thought when I had hauled my luggage from the airport terminal and the taxi. I made it to the edge of the hotel and an open square next to a shopping centre, maybe 100m.

That was enough, I turned around and shuffelled slowly back up to the hotel entrance and immediately bought a pre-packed sandwich from the kiosk in the foyer. When I got back to my room I put more clothes on before hiding under the blankets in an attempt to warm up.

It’s cold in Finland in winter.

The next day I would venture further from the hotel, and be dressed appropriately.

3 Replies to “Getting to Helsinki (again)”

  1. Cold, a four letter word, Australians need to learn to respect ?
    I spent four days in Helsinki in Summer. It was gloriously warm. I don’t know that I’d travel there in winter. You’re a better bloke than me.

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