In a whirlwind trip, I flew from Australia and Ry from his European adventure, to interview in Helsinki for post-doc and PhD positions. From the moment I arrived at the airport, Helsinki felt like the right place for us, I loved the Nordic design of the shops and cafes in the terminal as well as the festive feel, as I arrived close to Christmas. Then, exploring the city, the design and elegance continued to live up to my expectations, with tonal minimalism and intricate architecture. Many buildings seemed to have an almost medieval fantasy feel to their facades and I was ridiculously excited to explore the city in closer detail.
At that time of year the city was stunningly aglow with Christmas lights and decorations, and I took advantage of the gingerbread cookies to be had alongside delicious hot chocolates at every opportunity.
We visited the Christmas markets at Senate Square under the majestic Helsinki Cathedral. The markets were full of stalls with delicious food and hot winter drinks- the Finnish version glögi is deliciously sweet and full of spices, raisins and slithered almonds. While glögi is often non-alcoholic, there was plenty of the German alternative of alcoholic Gluwein, as well as delicious hot apple cider.
After meeting our future lab groups and presenting some of our previous scientific work, we decided to explore some of the residential areas between our potential future workplaces. We took a tram just north of the city centre and wandered around Vallila and Kallio, trying to get an idea of whether it would be the right place for us to live. While it was snowy and blusteringly cold, there was something about Kallio that drew us in.