Helsinki: where men under 40 look like architects and women over 40 look like they own an art gallery on the upper east side. It’s a land of natural blondes with asymmetric cuts and sparkling blue eyes rimmed in the coolest frames. Ain’t no Warby Parker up in here, y’all. I’m talking Smörboll and Ödmjuk and whatever the name of that bookcase you built that’s falling apart in the bedroom. Kidding! I know IKEA is Swedish – but honestly it seems the Scandinavians really do band together on their design aesthetics!
Design here is on POINT. It’s like this city was the curated love child of urban planning and architecture grad students. The escalators slow down to save energy until a person steps on the landing. The furniture is 90% teak and 100% to die for. Marimekko reigns supreme. Croissants are perfectly puffed and there are hints of friggin cardamom in your breakfast roll. Cardamom! Every terminal at the airport is equipped with a monitor noting all departures and how long it will take you to walk to each. I stepped into a family bathroom wallpapered with trees and that played a soundtrack of chirping birds. You always, ALWAYS feel like you are inside of an architectural rendering.
This girl sure ain’t in India no more!
When you hop on the train (naturally there are two lines running straight from the airport to downtown Helsinki) you’re awed by sheer amount of untouched pristine greenery. You have now entered a living, breathing Bob Ross painting. Or an Audi commercial. Or a Windows XP screensaver. And you are cold! You’ve forgotten what it feels like to be cold.
Your tummy still carries some digestive souvenirs from India, so you’re craving something light and brothy. You peek into a cobblestoned alley and see droves of Asians seated around lazy susans clinking their plastic chopsticks against ceramic plates and ginormous bowls of white rice. The menu has some Finnish substitutions (see below – eek), but you opt for a small bowl of chicken soup. It is perfect.
Helsinki, it’s been one hell of a layover. Thanks for the re-acculturation back to the first world.