I lift my bag onto the conveyor belt and place my tablet next to it, exchange cheerful greetings with the security inspector, walk through the gate, slip the tablet back into the bag, and swing the bag over my shoulder again. The full procedure took two minutes, and I don't even have to hurry to catch my flight.
The first 20 steps and some zigzagging
Once through the security check, I make a beeline for the Duty Free shop, straight ahead of me. I browse the merchandise, weaving through the shelves and scanning the temptations around me. I fancy a new perfume but then decide not to do my shopping just yet – I'd rather have a cup of coffee first!
The next 30 steps
Café Tori looks busy. It must be a popular place. I get the coffee and a sandwich, then hire a PowerKiss charging stick, which allows me to charge my phone wirelessly while I have a breather. I find a seat next to an aisle, so that I can watch people stop to do some shopping on their way to various gates. In one shop, a bunch of Moomins and their friends wait for new owners, while another is full of Longchamp bags in delicious colours. This colourful tableau is completed by bright Marimekko fabrics.
55 steps forward and a few doubling back
I drink my coffee and buy some gifts from the shops I had spotted earlier. I also pick up the Financial Times and two paperbacks. I'm about to go admire the aeroplanes from the enormous windows when I notice a small pharmacy. I decide to be practical and get some plasters, as I'm pretty sure I will be walking a lot once I'm in London – unlike here at HelsinkiAirport...
Another 25 steps
Now we get to the windows over the aeroplanes. A glass of champagne seems appropriate as I enjoy the view, and the Wine and View bar really lives up to its name. Then I notice that there's even a sports bar upstairs. I might still have enough time for a burger before departure! I check my gate. Good – the screen says it takes 10 minutes to walk to my gate from where I am now, so there's plenty of time.
Feeling well fed, I start walking toward the border-control point, since my flight leaves from the non-Schengen area. I get through quickly, thanks to the automatic system that first scans my passport and then compares my face to the photo. A quick stop in the WC, where I hear birdsong! I stop counting my steps and head for the gate at a fairly brisk pace. I have only five minutes' distance left, according to the screen. I happen to notice a Starbucs and decide to take away my frappuccino...
Text: Tiia Soininen
Illustration: Birit Sarre