—By Matt Slovick, Glass Magazine editor-in-chief
I arrived in Tampere, Finland, today to cloudy skies and then a rain storm. E-glass weekly editor Katy Devlin and I now own umbrellas from Finland—our first souvenirs.
The GPD conference starts tomorrow, giving me at least the evening to relax from the trip over.
Although I live 20 minutes from BWI, I flew out of Dulles for the better fare. I had to take three planes, but I thought that was fine since it breaks up a long trip. However, it occurred to me, as I went through the security check for the second time when I had to switch terminals and airlines, that I would have to do that three times as well.
I reached back into my lifeguard training about how to disrobe quickly before going into the water to save someone. I recently read a column by a nudist, who suggested that if everyone was a nudist, the lines at the security gates would just streak by.
As I put my laptop back into its bag, put on my shoes and tied them, grabbed my jacket and picked up my second bag, I started thinking about a “nude only” line and if I’d be brave enough to bare all in order to bypass the lines and inconvenience. Then I looked at the people around me who would also be naked. … I guess waiting isn’t that bad.
Here are some Fun Finland Facts:
Finland is 130,559 square miles with a population of 5.2 million, which makes it the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. For comparison, Maryland has 5.6 million people living across 12,407 square miles. About 600,000 Fins live in Helsinki, the capital. A comparable U.S. city is Charlotte, N.C., with a population of about 610,000. Tampere’s population is about 206,000 or that of Modesto, Calif.
Finland is bilingual by constitution, though practically Finnish is the main language. Swedish is spoken in coastal areas and Sámi in the northern Lapland.
Finland has the greatest number of islands in the world at 179,584 and has 187,888 lakes larger than 500 square meters.
According to the World Audit Democracy profile, Finland is the freest nation in the world in terms of civil liberties, freedom of the press, low corruption levels and political rights.
A quarter of Finland's territory lies above the Arctic Circle, thus the midnight sun can be experienced for more days the farther north one travels. At Finland's northern most point, the sun does not set for 73 consecutive days during summer and does not rise for 51 days during winter.