First time in Helsinki

I flew to Helsinki from the Landvetter Airport yesterday after work on one of Blue 1’s uncrowded planes. It was a real pleasure after flying on Ryanair. The staff were really friendly and even gave me a map of the city, as well as directions to my hotel and information on which bus to take into the city. To get into the city centre you take the number 615 from just outside the airport – it takes you to the bus/train station in the centre. We’re staying in a hotel in the Katajanokka area- which is to the west of the city centre. It’s easy to walk to from the station. The weather is somewhat drizzly and the water is frozen with chunks of ice in it. The city has a 1930s feel to it due to the architecture and it really is surprisingly soviet as well. Apparently Finland is often used instead of Russia when filming Russian based films because it looks so similar. Most of the signs here are in Finnish, Swedish and English which makes everything easy. Generally people seem quite comfortable speaking in English too – which makes travelling here nice and easy.

Today after gorging ourselves on a huge buffet breakfast, we wandered up to the Museum of Contemporary Art only to find a demonstration outside protesting the situation in the Congo. Find out a bit more here. They are preparing a petition to give to market giants such as Nokia in a bid to make them more ethically responsible. After this sobering start I spent the day at Pixelache drinking coffee in Cafe Kiasma and checking out what was going on. I went to the Open Forum and got to hear lots of interesting talks about projects past, present and future. Afterwards I went to listen to someone from Art+Com speaking. The stuff they are doing is really inspiring but it clearly takes a lot of money so it’s just not possible without corporate clients to pay for it.

Afterwards we walked up to Töölönlahti which is a large lake behind the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and then past the Opera House and round the north bit of Helsinki which wasn’t that nice. We then dropped down to the train station and ended up in a little cafe looking out over Kiasma. After a quick wander round the city we headed out of the perpetual drizzle into nice warm hotel.

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