Landing on a runway covered in ice with an airport covered in knee deep snow was our 2nd introduction to Finland, the 1st was as we boarded our Finnair flight in Hong Kong, after a great 11 hour flight with a modern aircraft, friendly cabin crew, comfortable seats, nice meals and a collection of good movies our evening arrival got us used to winter in Europe.
Helsinki was covered in a blanket of snow which made for slow drive into town from the airport. How cold was it ….?
An early morning start gave us a great introduction to explore Helsinki.. It was -11o, had stopped snowing and cold.. But a dry cold.. Walking the streets gave us a chance to get to see Helsinki like a local, the streets are covered in snow, the road covered in ice, people rush off to work and we were amazed at all the snow, everything covered, the entire city was white. Helsinki being a harbour city, most things are focused around the harbour … which was totally frozen solid and to our amazement saw local Finns walking & riding their bikes across to a small island in the harbour for coffee….. The Finns are a shy group of people, however once you make the initial conversation – they are warm & friendly and have a curious desire to learn about Australia. It’s an easy city to get around even in the depths of winter as everything operates no matter what the weather is. The main shopping area is the ‘ Esplanade ‘ its home to the famous Hotel Kamp , iitala & maremiko’s flagship stores , Stockman’s and a collection of typically Scandinavian Design stores that have the most amazing home wares.