So, here I am in Helsinki, and while I am here I intend to make use of my time looking for things that prospective Worldcon attendees might be interested in. After all, there may be some of you who haven’t yet made up your minds to vote for Helsinki in 2015. If there are any specific questions that people have, please ask them in comments below. I’ll be visiting the convention site on Monday when we have got back from Åcon so I’ll have time to look around, shoot some video, and ask questions. In the meantime, here are some observations from today.
Helsinki airport is small but efficient. There’s not a lot in the way of direct flights, but those of you who are with Star Alliance will probably find it easy to change in Frankfurt, which is Lufthansa’s main hub. You could also change in London, of course, or Paris. Work on the railway linking the airport with the city is now underway and they expect to have it open in time for Worldcon.
The only cloud on the train horizon is that there are apparently suggestions afoot to fully automate the system. Driverless trains have to be built to a higher safety standard than human-operated ones, and there would be software to be written. I’ll keep an eye on developments.
On the way into the city we stopped off at a shopping mall to have dinner and get food for brunch tomorrow. Otto and Paula too me to Chico’s a restaurant chain that promises to bring American dining to Finland. They have got it pretty much spot on. All of the usual things you would expect from a high end burger joint were available. We had fried mozzarella and jalapeño poppers for starters. The chiptole mayo in my burger was definitely spicy, as were the chili fries it came with (in a little metal bucket). The Finns, being hard core about such things, added half a jalapeñno on the side, with the seeds still in it. That was warm. We were too full for the cheesecake, but I’m sure it would have been lovely. The poppers came with the BBQ mayo as a dip, and it was so nice I now want to try their ribs. OK, so it isn’t haute cuisine, but no one from California can complain that they can’t get good home cooking in Finland.
Also it is a change from my going on and on about the reindeer steaks, tar ice cream and cinnamon beer at Harald. You might get that tomorrow when we get to Turku.
I’m staying at Otto & Paula’s splendid flat in Helsinki overnight. I have had sauna, so I am now a happy and relaxed feline. Tomorrow we hit the road. Hopefully we’ll manage to go early enough to avoid the holiday weekend traffic jams.
By the way, the ice hockey world championships are underway in Helsinki. I won’t have a chance to go to any games, but it will be on TV in the convention hotel. There should be good crowds for Sweden v Canada on Friday, and Russia v Finland on Saturday. USA v Finland tomorrow should also be an interesting game. The Russians look like the best team in the tournament thus far, but the surprise package is most definitely Switzerland who have already beaten Sweden, the Czech Republic and Canada.