To be honest, Finns look the same to me. The high cheekbones, the blank blue eyes, the same outfits picked up from global mass-market stores or simply from the second-hand shop. But, the time that I have spent in both Rovaniemi and Helsinki, I realised that they are far from a homogenous nation. For instance, a vast gap exists between Helsinki Finns and Rovaniemi Finns.
Below, I list my thoughts about the capital of Finland and the capital of Lapland, which form the ultimate clash!
10 Reasons to hate Helsinki
- My 22m2 flat, which costs a fortune.
- Neighbours are noisy and spy on me through the peephole.
- The weather is schizophrenic; it drives everyone crazy. You have to have a T-shirt on under your pullover, also wear winter shoes and definitely carry an umbrella. In the morning the sun might wake you up but before you reach the bus stop it will start snowing heavily, yet after you finish school or work and return home it will be windy and rainy.
- Public transport network is wide-reaching but the majority of the drivers are terribly unhelpful and sometimes unpredictable. You speak to them in Finnish and they reply in English. You ask them a question in English and they ignore you. Then, you are lost!
- The snobbish people. This category thinks Helsinki is the Mecca of civilisation and fashion. Plus their slang isn’t exactly music to my ears.
- Tramline 10 smells like cheap beer, sweat and urine.
- Too stressful place to be. No comments.
- Lots of beggars.
- Lots of policemen and CCTVs. I understand that people need to feel secure when they go out for a walk, but every single street I have been on in Helsinki has at least 1 CCTV watching you and police cars are patrolling 24/7. I don’t have to feel like a terrorist every single time that I am going to Kamppi.
- The delivery people waking you up on Sunday morning by ringing the doorbell to get in the building. A discount coupon for pizza, anyone?
8 Reasons to love Rovaniemi
- Neighbours drive snowmobiles or repair them next to your back yard. A noisy habit as well but at least they can keep your spare house key in times of need.
- From a photographer’s point of view, this is an amazing city to take pictures. But so cold that your hands and feet are just freezing.
- Public transport network is merely limited to the centre. Areas like Nivavaara are left in isolation. It is like forcing citizens to have a car for each member of the family.
- People are so warm hearted, honestly. Especially, older people are so helpful and interesting to talk to.
5. 6. 7. No tram, no beggars, less stress but sometimes it is just boring.
8. Cultural life isn’t exactly massive but design influences are all over the city. Additionally, music concerts provided by the Chamber Orchestra
of Lapland are exquisite and exceed dynamically even the quality standards of Helsinki orchestras.
To sum up, it is evident that Rovaniemi won this challenge! However, I must admit that downtown Helsinki is NOT Finland. Amen to that!