After the rush and gush of a late evening in the Hong Kong airport, an early morning, half-asleep wander through the Helsinki Airport is almost disconcerting.
Everything is very Nordic. Well-arranged, simple lines, well-planned out. Quiet, with birds chirping in the women’s bathroom as if one is in the middle of a birch wood forest, tall, towering white trunks with skinny branches all around you. I suspect Santa Claus, if he doesn’t live in Canada, would live in Finland. After all, everything’s as clean in that airport as freshly-fallen snow in the forest.
I stumbled through to my gate, grateful for the familiar globalized green mermaid. I slumped into a lovely wooden table after chatting with the barista – “Hong Kong? That’s crazy far.” – and indulged in a cinnamon bun and a honey macchiato latte. Even the latte tastes like something I’d imagine people to drink out in a cabin somewhere, bees buzzing by the windows, the honey fresh from the hives outside. Milk from the cows. That sort of pastoral business.
In Starbucks, I’m in a log-cabin … or a Finnish IKEA catalog … either way, I’m happy with my few hours of a layover. It gives me the chance to decompress from a 10 hour flight and to plan my first few days in Vienna. I don’t know what to expect when I land there, other than, I don’t really care, I’m going to pay a million Euros for a cab from the airport because I can’t be arsed to take a bus or a train to my hotel.
Dealing with public transportation in a foreign country, no matter how “English-friendly” it is, still required a particular amount of brain power that I did not yet possess at 7 AM in Helsinki.
This is evidenced by the fact that a 150 Euro reindeer pelt sounded like a good souvenir …