Helsinki Airport Opens Free Lounge With Real Beds

If you’ve ever tried to sleep on one of those hard airport terminal chairs as announcements blare over the PA system and passengers jostle into you with their luggage, you know how hard it is to get any decent rest while waiting for your flight.

Skift reports Helsinki Airport is giving travelers a reprieve by opening a relaxation lounge where travelers can sleep, rest or work in peace. The lounge has pod style chairs and even real beds, so passengers can choose the relaxation option that best suits them. The walls and ceilings are designed with acoustic technology to ensure a quiet environment, and the décor is meant to reflect the calming Finnish landscape, with ice and northern light motifs incorporated into the design.The relaxation area is open to passengers 24 hours a day, and here’s the best part -– it’s absolutely free. While we’ve seen a number of airport terminals incorporate mini hotel suites and pod sleeping areas in recent times, most charge by the hour for the privilege. Thankfully, in Helsinki that’s not the case. There’s no need to be a member of an airline loyalty program or fork over any exorbitant fees to get some shut-eye here.

Four quiet spots in London

London is a wonderful, energetic place and easily ranks as number one my list of favorite large cities. Yet the very qualities that make London so enjoyable can grate on the nerves. Most parts are crowded, noisy, and stress inducing. If you need to get away from it all, here are four peaceful spots in or close to the center of town. Wander around enough and you’ll find more on your own.

Parts of the Thames Path: The Thames Path is a 184 mile National trail running the length of the River Thames. Most of it runs through beautiful countryside and historic villages, yet there are peaceful spots on the London section too. Avoid anywhere that has a shopping area right next to the river or is near an attraction such as the Tate Modern. Walk for a while and you’ll get into residential areas where the only company you’ll have are the occasional jogger and the seagulls. One of the attractions of the Thames is that it’s the largest open space you’ll see in central London. After the crush of Tottenham Court Road or Piccadilly Circus, it’s a profound relief to bring a lunch, sit down on a bench, and watch the boats go by as the sunlight plays on the water.

Churches: London is filled with historic, beautiful churches, and everyone is welcome to sit for a while and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Nobody will bother you or expect you to be praying. Professionals often come on their lunch break and do sudoku. You can, of course, come to worship, and with the Anglican Church being so welcoming, you don’t have to be Anglican (or straight, or even a believer) to join in the services. Friends of The City Churches, an organization preserving churches in central London, has an informative website. My favorite guidebook is London: The City Churches by Nikolaus Pevsner.

Parks: Some of London’s many parks are more peaceful than others, but they all offer respite from the chaos that is London. Richmond Park or the Regent’s Park are good choices for their wide-open spaces. Richmond Park even has a herd of wild deer! Hyde Park is less peaceful but more central. St. James’s is a favorite for its beautiful lake alive with waterfowl, which turns into a magical sight in the golden light of evening.

Temple Yard and Gardens: The most peaceful place I’ve found is, strangely, right in the middle of The City, the bustling financial heart of London. The area around the old Templar church is owned by barristers, and they have a series of peaceful yards and gardens with shady trees, lush grass, sparkling fountains, and convenient benches. It never seems to be terribly busy, and everyone maintains a hushed silence, as if in unconscious respect of the one peaceful spot in this high-energy neighborhood.

Please keep these places peaceful! There’s a severe shortage of quiet spots in London, so come and be still.

Photo of the Day (12-9-09)

This photo titled “Peace” by jrodmanjr, the fellow who took it, is a lovely depiction of an alley away from the hubbub of a city. As he noted, time away from the souks in Dubai, the city with the tallest building in the world, was well needed.

In the comment section, he also gives details about why he framed the shot the way that he did. If he had moved the camera to the right, “the bright clutter, crates, and trinkets ended up to be too much of a distraction. “

As it is, we become the witness to the life of a man who reads in quiet repose.

If you have captured a quiet moment of repose, or any other sort of moment, send it our way at Gadling’s Flickr photo pool, It might be chosen as a Photo of the Day

Escape to the world’s quietest places

Life in most places is loud. Planes flying overhead, traffic rushing through the streets, people yelling, talking, phones ringing – it all combines to make an endless racket that follows us throughout our days. If you need to get away for some (literal) peace and quiet, take a look at Forbes Traveler’s list of the World’s Quietest Places.

Many of these aren’t the sort of places where you’ll go crazy from the silence, in fact some of them are plenty noisy. But near and far, they provide places where you can get away from the aural assault of the world and revel in a quiet(er) existence.

Included on the list are destinations like the verdant Hoh Valley in Washington State and Muir Woods in California, both places that are easy to get to from major cities but seem a world away. Further from home, there’s the island of Yap, near Guam, where the “culture is built on adherence to social peace”. The Kalahari Desert, 350,000 square miles of sparsely populated sand and scrub, also makes the list.

Victoria Falls isn’t exactly silent, but the roar of the water as it plummets 350 feet (which can be heard over a mile away) is such a natural sound and so completely shuts out everything else, that it almost feels quiet. Central Park is another unlikely addition to the list. Though it’s located in the middle of what is arguably one of the world’s loudest cities, it provides a quiet solitude away from the noise of daily life.