It's not every day one sees a fully-functional smart city, given crumbling urban infrastructure in many countries, so a visit to a metropolitan area that runs well and serves its residents efficiently is a delightful sight for sore eyes.
In the old factory district of Helsinki, Finland, in a 4,000-square-foot electric power plant known simply as Kattilahalli ("boiler hall"), more than 500 developers and creatives gathered for the largest hackathon ever held in the Nordics.
Yet airports around the globe are increasingly boasting an impressive range of fun activities and luxe amenities to help ease the stresses of travel--or at least entertain us while we're in transit. Here's a sampling of things you can do that we think will prove way more fun than sudoku.
There are more saunas than cars in Finland and, unlike the rest of us who view a hop in the sauna as a luxury, the Finns consider their weekly sauna as a necessity, right up there with food, rye bread and vodka.
For adventurous travelers, a free trip to an exotic city is a mouthwatering prospect. Stopovers -- connections between flights of more than 24 hours -- provide a sneaky way to do just that, giving travelers two holidays for the price of one.
The six islands comprising the Fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki, Finland, have the kind of forlorn beauty that one would expect in this pocket of Scandinavia -- and a quirky, varied culture all their own.
Allow me to explain what Finland seems to be to me. In one word: design. Think ice, sleek and shiny like steel. Snowflakes, each one perfectly unique in its crystalline lattice. And darkness, the absorption of all light and the undying fashion statement of "artists" around the globe.
I was lucky enough to spend an idyllic August exploring -- by foot, train, plane, and bikes (free in cities such as Helsinki with a deposit). But if you only have a week, there's still a trove of highlights that can be enjoyed.