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Published: January 30th 2016
The brand new airbus 350 was slicing through the skies on its way to Helsinki, Finland. This was a major upgrade from the tiny plane I had used to get to my first layover in JFK. I did my best to try and sleep on this flight, because I had a ten hour layover ahead of me and I was going to try to get as much out of it as possible. The plane descended through some thick grey clouds as it approached the runway and I got to watch it happen in real time through a camera that was setup on the tail and fed through the in-flight entertainment system. This was apparently a new Finnair feature and so very cool. I disembarked and carried my one and only small backpack with me. I would be living out of it for the next few months. It was minus thirteen degrees celcius, but I reasoned that since I was from Montreal, this should pose no problem. Except for the fact that I only had a sweater, a tuque and a pair of thin mittens. The flight pulled up to the modern Helsinki airport by about nine in the morning. I found
myself walking the quiet hallways alone. It didn't seem like such a busy time. Helsinki was desperately trying to strengthen the importance of its airport and wants it to become a regional hub to Asia. Hence why so many flights to India, Japan and China are now going through here. I boarded a train towards the city center. The scenery began with some farmland and gradually became more and more urbanized. Within a half hour, I was downtown. I felt the chill right away, and armed only with a small map,I began to explore some of the city. I walked past the parliament building and some churches and then went inside a famous underground church known as the rock church.
The cold was slowly eating away at me however, and I decided to go inside one of the many indoor shopping malls. I went to a McDonald's and got something to drink while I ate some of my own food I had brought with me. I read a little bit and then before I knew it, I was hungry to explore some more. I headed east and gazed upon some pretty incredible architecture that resembled the church designs of
Russia. This made good sense because Russia had in fact conquered Finland for a time. I walked along the water and then had to take refuge again from the cold. I walked for what seemed like hours, luckily Helsinki has a compact city center but even I was able to get lost and spent time trying to backtrack to the central train station. Darkness has already descended and I decided I had had enough of the cold and it was time to get back to the airport. Helsinki left a pretty nice impression on me, although if I do go back one day, I'm hoping it will be during a warmer period. I waited about two more hours before boarding began for my flight to New Delhi. The adventure was just getting started.
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