Anna Airola

Anna Airola

You can feel like a true Helsinkian at the central railway station.

From the city of Kokkola on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia to Helsinki in 2014. And five years later to play the lead in a hugely popular television show on the national broadcasting network as a coffeeshop owner in the trendy Kallio district. This was Anna Airola's route from the provinces to become the face of life in the big city. 

"Helsinki is such a lovely hotpot of people, full of all kinds of people from everywhere. A large number of my friends have moved here from somewhere else. I love Helsinki, its cultural scene, nature and the sea. The size is perfect, I don't need anything more." 

Size is a relative concept, and one that changes through time. "The city has become smaller and smaller. At the same time, my own tracks and circles have remained pretty much the same throughout. I've noticed that everyone in Helsinki has their own ways of being, their own places and routes. Then there are also many places that I know nothing about. That is also fabulous!" 

For Airola, Helsinki was a logical destination as she already had family and siblings in the city. "In the beginning I had somewhat of a rebellious phase. I was annoyed by the metro and the expressionless faces. From those moments, my relationship has only gotten better and I don't think of the local residents as only expressionless, even if avoiding eye contact on the metro still feels strange to me."

Airola got to know the city on her bike and by riding the tram. "A friend invited me on a bike trip right when I moved here. When we cycled along the shoreline, I realised how places relate to one another and started to build my map of the city. Regardless of having already lived in Helsinki or a while, I suddenly noticed that you can really walk everywhere. The distances are short, and you don't always need the metro. You can walk and bike everywhere." 

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