In 2013, my brother, parents, and I went on a trip to celebrate our respective graduations--mine from undergrad and my brother from high school. As any other family trip, the itinerary was stacked. Very few open moments to sit and people watch or drink at a café or bar, as is the Kolick family way. If an international plane ticket was purchased, we would see as much as humanly possible in the time allotted.
Helsinki was our hub--where the trip started and ended.
If I'm being honest, I don't remember a great deal about the city. It all felt like a whirlwind of jetlag and hustling to our next destination. I remember that in attempts to deal with jetlag but not overexert ourselves, we took a tram or bus tour of the city where I learned that during World War II the Germans had some bad intel and bombed their own embassy.
We saw a lot of cool art around the city.
During our first dinner, my brother ordered reindeer to which my dad replied, "you best hope Santa doesn't find out." I wish I could chock that up to jetlag, but that's just my dad one hundred percent of the time.
The most memorable thing about Helsinki was the sauna. Typically, this is a luxury amenity but it Finland saunas are very common. According to This is Finland there are an estimated 2 million saunas in a country with a population of 5.3 million people. They take saunas very seriously. The sauna was on the top floor of our hotel. On one wall there were wooden benches to sit and relax. Opposite of the benches were floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city. It was one of the most relaxing experiences of my life.