In a pattern repeated across the East Africa, between 1976 and 2014, Tanzania’s Selous National Park lost 88 per cent of its elephant population. From a population of more than 100,000 animals, there are now only a little over 10,000 left. Lost is a polite word; in actuality they were murdered.

The impacts of this extend far outside the park itself; ecology changes, tourism numbers drop off, and jobs are lost both directly and indirectly.

Coming from a developed Western country, it is sometimes easy to take Finland’s many pleasures for granted. Sure, it’s safe. But safety is relative, and if the cities we come from aren’t exactly death zones, we aren’t likely to really give a lot of thought to the topic. Yes, it’s clean. But then so are Singapore, Oslo and Edinburgh.

But every so often I come into contact with people who have moved here from far less salubrious places, and their impressions of Finland tend to be radically different from my own.

Punavuori tastes Italian.

On a quiet Friday afternoon before the lunch rush things are taking a rather Italian turn at Mille Mozzarella. I sit myself down and there isn’t a soul to be seen. Taking off my coat and setting up my lap top and still the kitchen staff seem to be intent on ignoring the front of house. Oh well. Eventually Lorenzo Dotson-Smith pops out of the kitchen and is all smiles and starts rustling up some food.

The weird and wonderful tastes of your local Asian grocery store.

Eat your greens! How many times have you heard that line? In Finland this may pose a two-fold problem: first of all you gotta find your greens, and, when faced with a mighty array at the Chinese market, the next question would be, ‘How?’ But, have no fear, for this month’s edition will take you through all things great and green.

A couple of months ago I signed up to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, attracted by the idea of conquering the world’s highest freestanding peak in one of the world’s most beautiful countries. As you might imagine, trekking to 6,000 metres comes with quite a training schedule.

Judging from the crowds outside, it seems as if everyone in Helsinki is training for some immense marathon. Everyone seems to be lifting weights, Nordic walking or taking Body Combat classes, if not doing all three at once.