In September Beaker, my husband, and I traveled to Lithuania, the country where I was born, raised and lived till the tender age of 26. We flew American Airlines all the way from Salt Lake City to Helsinki, Finland. There we had a six hour layover before getting on a small Finnair plane to fly to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and my home town.
Arriving to Helsinki at 8:00 AM local time (about two o’clock in the morning Salt Lake City time) meant the following:
- a foggy head from jet lag;
- exhaustion from a long nine-hour flight;
- slight dehydration (not a lot of water was being distributed on the AA plane which was really odd);
- a really stiff back and legs due to the almost non-existent leg room on AA planes (imagine our misery considering that I am 5‘10“ and Beaker is 6‘1“);
- an absolute need for strong coffee that would prevent one from falling to the closest bench in the Helsinki airport to have a nap.
However, we swiftly started to wake up when I handed $200 to a currency exchange clerk at Helsinki airport and got back only about 140 Euros. A few minutes later, after purchasing a bottle of water for about 6 Euros (converts into $8!!!), we were completely awake and counting how much we can afford to spend in the next few hours in Helsinki.
Overall, the six hour layover’s cost was about 100 Euros that translated roughly into $140.
What $140 was spent on:
- A luggage locker at Helsinki airport where we stuffed our carry-on. Luckily for us, our check-in luggage traveled all the way from Salt Lake City to Lithuania without us seeing it. Otherwise, we would have to pay double for the lockers. Cost: 5 euros.
- A bus to Helsinki center (round trip). Cost: 24 euros (for two).
- Two cups of coffee (those are small European size cups, not your Starbucks Venti size), another bottle of water, two small sandwiches. Cost: 34 euros.
- Two more cups of coffee (hey, we needed to stay awake!). Cost: 8 euros.
- One magnet featuring Helsinki (something to remember it by besides the sinking feeling in the middle of my stomach and a thought that we are being ripped off). Cost: 6 euros.
- Two Finnish beers for Beaker and two glasses of wine for me (people’s watching is a very expensive entertainment in Helsinki.) Cost: 25 euros.
Other than a cost, Helsinki is a lovely city! And here is the proof:.
Uspenski Cathedral was built as a Russian Orthodox Church in 1868:
Senaatinori, Helsinki’s “official” center. I was surprised to see a statue of the Russian czar Alexander II. I did not realize how strong the Russian’s influence was in Helsinki during the 19th century .