It’s no wonder that Helsinki was chosen as the most livable city in 2011 by Monocle’s annual Quality of Life survey. After spending just a few days there, I was ready to pack up and move. There are several reasons why I loved Helsinki. It’s a walkable city. We walked everywhere. There are wide open sidewalks and pedestrian walkways between buildings. Everything seemed to run smoothly, including the public rail system. It’s unpretentious. The skyline is modest with only a couple of recognizable rooftops on the horizon, including the immaculate white walls and green domes of the Helsinki Cathedral. Everyone was nice. Period.
I loved the emphasis on good design. Walking along the boutiques and workshops in the Design District was inspiring, if not humbling. Everywhere there was an appreciation for all things handcrafted. I even liked the weather. Granted, we were not there in the peak of winter, but it was certainly cold by Texas standards. Nonetheless, I found the cold refreshing and walking around in only 6 hours of sunlight was interesting. Here are my memories of Helsinki.