In ways Helsinki was as exotic as I expected. It was only dark from around eleven until four in the morning which felt completely bizzare, although helpful when we had to wake up at five for our flight. I can't imagine the winters with only four hours of light all day. I would be seriously depressed, but Sara said everyone is used to it and takes lots of Vitamin D.
Another interesting thing is that they have no concept of small talk. Sara said they don't even have words for it in Finnish, which definitely goes with their whole life philosophy of efficiency. Even their amazing decor revolves around practicality. I'm obsessed with the focus on white with bits of bright colors. Marimekko is a huge designer and you recognize the same prints everywhere. The whole city feels like Ikea, but better.