Finland ’19 – Day One, Two & Three – Helsinki

Readers may take a look at what is written below and question whether I have really been to Helsinki asking can you really say you have been to a place if you only see it at night? That was Helsinki for me back end of November 2019.

I was away on business in Helsinki for a few days to attend the annual Slush conference (if you are interested in that you can read about that on my tech blog here) which was a sight to behold. People that haven’t travelled for business invariably marvel at the fact that you are off to somewhere exotic paid for by someone else. “Oh! How fabulous! Will you get to see [insert famous landmark for particular city/country here]?” They will enquire and the answer will almost certainly be “No”.

I’ve been lucky, or unlucky depending on your point of view, to travel a fair bit with work over the years including some pretty amazing places such as the The Netherlands, USA, India and Israel. But in almost all cases you see very little as you are there to work paid for by someone else so invariably what you see is the airport, a taxi and the conference centre/office that you are visiting. You could quite literally be anywhere and it’d make no difference.

When visiting Boston, MA years ago all I saw was the lawyers offices I had been summoned to and the local Wagamama. Israel was deemed too dangerous by our hosts for us to go many places and so we ended up like prisoners in our hotel in Tel Aviv.

And so we come to Helsinki. Scandinavia is somewhere less travel for me and I would love to explore it more but this occasion was not to be it. We arrived on the Wednesday afternoon and it was dark. We didn’t again see daylight until we touched back down at Gatwick on the Saturday morning. We would leave the hotel in the dark, spend the day in the conference centre which was even darker than outside and then travel back in the dark.

That’s not to say that this trip didn’t have it’s highlights – a reception held by the British ambassador to Finland at the embassy was one – but I came away with no sense of what Helsinki was like other than that much of it they seemed to be digging up.

So I leave you with a series of pictures of Helsinki taken a night and the hope that one day I can return during daylight hours and not on a business trip!