The plane looked oddly retro and spacious as I boarded, and it took me a moment until I realized why — it was an MD-90, with its trademark 3-2 seating and marginally less terrible seat pitch. I was in the first row of Economy, just behind Extra, but on this 40-minute hop it didn’t really matter.
Soon enough the Finnish coastline came into view and, with a start, I realized I was looking at central Helsinki. There’s the Salmisaari powerplant and the apartment I lived in and the office of the company I used to work for and across the bridge is Nokia HQ and the red brick buildings of Helsinki U of Tech and the giant commuter/shopping hub of Leppavaara… and then we were a bit too far out in the ‘burbs for a city boy like me to recognize anything anymore, and a few moments later we had landed.
Helsinki greeted me with 5-degree temperatures, grey skies and a drizzle of rain. A friend had offered to pick me up at the airport and he told me that mere hours earlier, on what should be a summery May Day, it had actually snowed briefly. Welcome to Finland!