Finland - driverless busses, free-to-use public laptops, buying drugs in pharmacy


I ride a bus without driver! University makes experiment. Hope they will launch this as a service. It’s very good, it drove me from parking lot to cafe and I saved 7 minutes. Will use on the way back.

Video below:

Paper SPAM

This is about a half of week load of paper spam which we get into our door. In Finland, they use not post boxes but slots in doors, so it is possible to put A LOT inside. :-) What do we get?

Furniture catalogs

Almost every week one or two furniture shops have a sale. Catalogs tell us about it. As a result, we know what local market can offer and what are the discounts.

Tech shops catalogs

Tech shops are not so generous when it comes to sales, but it is still interesting to learn what they are offering. However, last times we bought a lot of home tech at Amazon. Since they started to offer free shipping to Finland, it is cheaper, and they have a better selection.


We are living in a new and growing area where a lot of new businesses are opening. Mostly they are pizzerias which advertise with brochures. Older businesses also send their advertisements to remind us that they still exist. Usually, a brochure includes a menu and delivery information.

Supermarket catalogs

There is only one supermarket in our area. But we can reach others by bus or by car. Because of that, these different supermarkets also compete to get our attention. They have the most colorful catalogs with a lot of delicious photos.

Department store catalogs

Department stores like Stockmann and Sokos are trying to attract with full-size magazines. Usually, they focus on fashion, perfume, and cosmetics even though they have other goods as well. Such magazines may contain samples of cream or perfume.

Toy shops catalogs

There is a lot of them before Christmas, people want to find good presents. Toy shops offer so many and so nice toys! I wish we had a half of that in our childhood.

Local newspaper

In the South of Espoo, we read Länsiväylä newspaper (West Lane). This is the name of the road from Helsinki to Hanko near which there are our areas. This newspaper tells us about local news. Something like once again about out poor metro which is going to be opened. There are articles on different social topics and a lot of local advertisements. Reading such a newspaper is a very good way to know about businesses nearby. Sometimes, a newly opened restaurant publishes there its discount coupon.

You can save yourself from getting all these newspapers and catalogs. For that, you only need to put a table or a sticker which says “ei mainoksia, kiitos”, or “ei mainoksia vain lehdet” if you still want newspapers. But I would recommend not to use such signs. We had it in our first apartment and did not get all of these. We were getting the newspapers in shops and so learned something. But with all these “spam” we would have gotten much more information which is very much useful for integration. Also, reading the catalogs you can study Finnish.


In a library, it is possible to borrow a laptop. Just beep with your library card, authorize on the touchscreen, and a locker will be opened. It’s free. Library card is also free.


Getting most of the drugs here in Finland is only possible having doctor’s prescription. Such a prescription a patient can get either from a public sector doctor or from a doctor in a private clinic. For many working folks, private clinic option is available as a part of the employer health insurance. In private clinics, it is possible to book times on the phone or on the Internet. In the capital area, there is a range of clinics, so that in urgent need there is no problem to see a doctor in a couple of hours. I especially appreciate that these clinics often located in large shopping centers with parking lots. It makes very handy and safe to get there by car even given Finnish weather and possible bad health condition.

Both public and private doctors have access to the national wide prescription database, where they can place a new item. The prescriptions are stored electronically and are available at all the pharmacies in the country. However, for patient awareness, the same prescription is also often given in a paper and includes instructions.

At the pharmacies, besides open shelves, there is also a prescription area. They take customer’s Kela-card (state insurance identifier), search in the database and release the medicine. Together with drugs, they give a bill to be carried to the cashier. Part of the cost lays on the state, part is customer’s own. Own expenses vary and depend on many factors such as customer’s needs, wellness, and overall sum. Perhaps, I will discover the details later. :-)

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© Varya Stepanova, 2018. To contact, email me.