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Reflections on my trip to Helsinki, Finland

Throughout my time in Helsinki, I’ve been on a mission with American Express to track down great customer service experiences and there has been no shortage of examples to call upon. I managed to pack a huge amount into my short time there, taking a ferry trip to (and a guided tour at) the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Suomenlinna (a sea fortress), sampling Finnish produce from the capital’s Restaurant Day in which anyone can set up a pop-up restaurant for the day, watching an ice hockey match, and visiting key attractions in the city. Helsinki Cathedral at Senate Square I’ve even had a haircut that was far more severe than I’d intended due to a slight misunderstanding on my part(!), tried out a Finnish sauna, and dined out on reindeer, bear and elk. And throughout all these experiences, I was pleasantly surprised by the levels of customer service I consistently found. So many people offered their help when I first announced my trip that I felt bad that I couldn’t act on all the suggestions with the limited time that I had. Even the passengers I sat alongside on the plane had so much advice to offer and members of the public were always happy to help with directions, tram advice, etc. Tram in Helsinki Deserving special mention were Iikka, Pamela, Juha and Ina, and Emilia. Thank you all for making my first trip to Finland such an enjoyable one! Helsinki sunset This trip was carried out in partnership with American Express, in a quest to find examples of great customer service.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Glad you were able to find a lot of places for good customer service. So what was your favorite part of your trip to Finland? The Finnish sauna sounds great. I did not see the sea fort when I was there, wish I knew it was there when I was in town.

  2. Hi An… it would be hard to pick a favourite. I didn’t go the ‘whole hog’ with my Finnish sauna experience (it was just the hotel sauna)… I’d already had my quota of nude saunas for this year with our trip to Lithuania earlier in the year!

    As I understand it, the sea fortress really accounts for the existence of Helsinki as a city. Prior to it being established, Helsinki was just a village (someone will correct me if I’m wrong here, I’m sure!). That was well worth a visit, and I would recommend the English-spoken guided tours (they do tours in other languages as well) that take place at 1.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. There’s a lot to see there, but the tours give you a good overview.

    It was also interesting to see the paragliders there – I never realised they could control them so precisely – take a look at this clip I captured: https://youtube.com/watch?v=7LpVf9u2XsA

    If I had to pick a ‘best moment’, I think it would probably be the dinner at Savotta or going to the ice hockey match…


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