Nicole and I knew we wanted to visit Vietnam, Bali, England (to attend a wedding), and France during our trip. The time we spent in Bangkok and Helsinki this past week was a bonus.
Because we could be flexible with our travel dates, we were able to schedule flights to take advantage of some airline miles we had. In order to make this work using the least miles possible, we needed to fly out of Asia from Bangkok, with a layover in Helsinki, en route to England. One option would have been to do this all in a day. Instead, we did it over the course of a week.
As described in my earlier post, we had a blast in Bangkok attending sporting events and otherwise.
We spent the past two nights in Helsinki visiting art galleries in the Design District, enjoying our funky room at the Klaus K Hotel, eating the fanciest dinner we've had in months at Kuurna, taking advantage of the city's bike share, visiting outdoor and indoor markets, watching the sun set around 11 p.m., and otherwise making the most of our time.
Admittedly, we didn't fall in love with Helsinki during our stay. It's cold and the city's streets and architecture felt drab. However, we didn't get the chance to visit any of Helsinki's famous saunas so, who knows, maybe that would have changed our impression. (According to CNN, there are over 3.5 million saunas in Finland, a county of approximately 5.5 million people -- and if you think saunas are just for fun, think again, there are myriad health benefits!)
In the final analysis, our travel plans don't always allow us to take advantage of layovers, but if possible it's an awesome way to see some new places.