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Chi va piano, va sano, e va lontano


Continuing our global virtual tour to learn something new, our next stop is Helsinki, Finland. The words opening this post are Italian and they mean “those who go slow, are healthier, and will go the distance.”

Helsinki is the most northerly of all the continental European capitals. The location was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550 and today is the largest city in Finland.  

Known as the ‘Daughter of the Baltic’, Helsinki is the world’s coldest capital with a yearly average temperature not exceed 0°C (32°F).

The local government heats the granite slabs from underground during the winter, making the sidewalks in the center of the city completely snow-free. For about six weeks in the year, you also won’t see the sun because it is so close to the arctic.

Helsinki is an unusual capital as not only does it include the mainland located on the Gulf of Finland, but also includes 300 islands that are connected by many bridges. Take an 8 hour and half train ride North from Helsinki and you will meet the real ‘Santa Clause’.

The picture in this post is from one of favorite casual restaurants in Europe that I initially discovered in Zurich Switzerland called ‘VAPIANO’. Literally it means ‘go-slowly’, and they have locations in 25 countries, including Finland.

Favorite memories of Helsinki and Finland include multiple meetings with major retailers and visiting their stores, the great food, the warm hospitality of the locals, and those very warn ‘sauna’ experiences during the cold winter visits.

Paraphrasing those Italian words opening this post, “slow and steady will always win the life race.” Live your dreams and remember it is indeed a small world after all.

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