Life in Finland - autumn sale, transport wins and failures, secret cafes

Published on 10/30/2017

Shops

In Finland, October is a month for autumn sales. They are not so huge as winter or summer sales, but still a lot of fun. The main sale event of autumns and springs is "Hullut päivät" (Crazy days) in all the Stockmann shops. They last 5 days, from Wednesday to Sunday.

This is a festival of shopping and even a cultural event. These days, Stockmann hires additional staff, mostly students. Staff wear yellow T-shirts, there are yellow tags and posters all over the shop, additional dressing rooms are installed, customers go out with a lot of yellow plastic bags.

A week before, a catalog with upcoming goods is published, also online. The sale does not start at the same time for all the goods. Every position comes on sell in its day, some in the morning, some in the evening (it all can be learned from the catalog). The most interested customers come to the shop as early as 7 in the morning; this way it is possible to buy very valuable design things.

During Crazy Days, people buy clothes, goods for their homes, design things, even furniture. Stockmann partners also participate. Thus, Finnair sells flights cheaper. In Stockmann's grocery, there could be deli on sale. You can buy caviar, Angus steaks, ducks, cheeses, foie gras. But no-one knows in advance what exactly will be on sale. However, there are some positions which are on sale every single time. For example, Santa Maria spices in glass jars are always sold for €1 each. Stockmann's bakery always produces sweets in a form of yellow ghost and babas with yellow glaze.

Stockmann also sells cosmetics, but it is more their competitor's Sokos feature. They make they own sale called "3+1" every time a week before Crazy days.

Some people even save money to spend them at 3+1 or Crazy Days. Folks at work discuss their catch. And after the sales, people visit each other at home — someone needs to eat everything bought in the Deli department.

Health services

In Finnish hospitals patients are all together in a big hall, and each bed is behind a curtain. There are private rooms but only for extreme special cases when a patient needs to spend in hospital many days.

Besides regular state doctors, in Finland there is also private medical centers. People use them by insurance or paying themselves. Competition makes private medic very good at their services!

Transport

In the smartphone app for public transport, it is now possible to buy day tickets. These are the prices for Helsinki-Espoo-Vantaa area. Makes sense if more than 2 trips a day are planned.

Today began with an adventure! I was riding the bus which got broken, and all the passengers were let out to the highway. We needed to climb over the road fence (it is apparently higher than an average human's knee). Well, we managed because all were wearing regular shoes with no high heels. Usually, when a bus gets broken, a driver calls for the replacement. In this case, there were a lot of buses going by, so the driver decided that we will manage ourselves getting to the nearest bus stop. I complained and in three weeks got an answer that they had a discussion with a driver about safety.

Cafe

I the beginning of October, we visited a cafe in our area. We live quite far from the city center and there are not that many services in here. But there is a cafe in an old estate, very popular among locals. It works only at first weekend of every month (except July), so we managed to visit it only now.

They save special estate interiors in the house with old but very good furniture. Everything is decorated with old-fashioned handmade works: some table dressings are needlework, some are crochet. On the walls, there are drawings and cross-stitched works. One of the rooms is a library, but I did not take a photo of it because there were people there.

Visitors can freely come in, drink tea or coffee (€3, with as many refills as you wish), take pieces of cakes from the table (€6 each, there were 7 kinds of cakes). It is possible to order salads or other dishes by the menu, this is delivered to the table. When leaving, a visitor says to the cashier how much they ate and drank, and pays.

This estate is not just one house. There are different household buildings around, a dog shed, and even a tree in its own greenhouse. It is cold now, but in summer there are also tables outside. According to Instagram photos, it is possible to rent the place for a private party as well.

In Finland, it is quite typical to run a restaurant in an old estate. Most likely you would never learn about such place as a tourist. They are often located outside the city and require a special trip to reach them. Some can be visited only by booking in advance. We visited 2 more similar but more touristic places, one in Savonlinna and another one in Fiskars. I will show photos if we visit again.

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