Public transport

In Switzerland the most common public transport is by train. Even in a small village is a train station. Of course we also have buses, but they are not as often in use as the trains. When I first came here I was surprised that in Turku or should I say in nearly whole Finland are buses more common.

I think the bus system in Switzerland is easier to use than the system in Turku, but that’s maybe just because I am used to it. Whatever, when I first used the bus I couldn’t figure out where I had to leave to bus, because nowhere in the bus was written where we were and what the name of the next bus stop was.

So I was sitting in the bus, and at some point I just got out and found myself in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to my offline map app, I was able to find my way back to my apartment. Now that I know how my bus stop looks like, I am up to get off at the right place.

But when I want to go to a new place, I am still struggling with the system. I usually use the Föli web page to figure out which bus I have to take and where to get off. I figured out, that the bus stops have numbers, so whenever I can, I try to count how many stops I have to pass till it’s mine. And what also helps is to print screen the map from foli.fi. You can see how many stops the bus is going to make.

Furthermore, the craziest thing is that you have to wave for the bus. That’s very uncommon. In Switzerland the bus stops at every station where people stand.

Föli

 

Text and photo by Saskia Kozak

My journey to Stockholm

I was excited. Not only was I going to meet my sister, but also seeing a new city.

Matilda, a Swedish girl who lives next to my room in Student’s village suggested me to book the Viking line ferry. When I first had a look on the internet, I was surprised how cheap the whole trip will be. A roundtrip with a cabin for both ways was just supposed to cost 70 Euros.

After I spoke with my sister about the timetables I figured out, that I have to take another ferry. So the price increased to 100 Euros. But still, the price was fine for me. Due to the fact that I had to book a cabin for 4 people I asked around to find other persons who wanted to join me. Finally Ruben, also a neighbour of mine decided to come with me.

On Thursday evening we met in our floor to take the bus at 7:30pm. When we arrived at the ferry we both were overwhelmed about the ferry. It looked so huge and elegant. The first few minutes in our cabin I felt like a little princess. It looked so luxurious and comfortable. After taking all the new impressions in, we went outside to discover the ferry. On board was everything, even a spa, a club and a small casino.  Of course we also had a look at the alcohol section in Duty free, but the prices were not that low as we expected them to be.

Ferry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a short night and a lack of sleep we arrived in Stockholm at 6:30am. The sky was, of course, still dark and it was snowing. That is why my first impression of Stockholm was not that special. It reminded me a lot of Finland. In Stockholm it was very easy to find a coffee shop, because they are located at every corner. After a warm coffee and a Swedish cinnamon roll we walked a little through the city. My sister was supposed to land at 11am, so I took the (in my opinion to expensive) bus alone to the Arlanda airport. Ruben wanted to meet his friend at noon, that’s why we split up.

When I saw my sister I was full of happiness. Together again. Well, honestly we have last seen each other on the second of January. But it felt like forever! We took the bus back to Stockholm city and talked the whole ride. There was a lot to tell about, the first few weeks in Student’s village, the first few courses at university and of course also the first few nights out. After storing our suitcases in the hotel, we went back to the city centre and allowed us to try one piece of the Swedish pastry called “Semla”.

pulla

It is hard to describe how it tasted. It was a mix of sweet bread with vanilla cream and almond mousse. So far, it was very nice, but for me a little bit too sweet. With new energy we met Ruben to do a little sightseeing tour. We went to the famous Vasa museum where we visited the amazing ship. It looks breath-taking with all the tiny figures made of wood. After five o’clock we had to leave the museum because it closed. Despite the chilly wind we decided to walk to old town via the central station. The walk took us nearly 2 hours, but it was worth it. The houses are decorated with old fashioned clocks and wild growing plants. As soon as we have seen the palace we decided to go back to the centre to have a coffee in Wayne’s coffee to heat up.

Due to our empty stomachs we asked for a device where we can have an affordable dinner. The waitress suggested us to go to Vapiano.

Vapiano

 

 

 

 

 

 

First we wanted to have some typical Swedish food, but the feeling of starving was stronger. So we went to the nearby Vapiano restaurant. Unfortunately there was a waiting time about 50 minutes. However, the warm and windless restaurant had its power. After waiting for nearly an hour we had an amazing dinner. I ate some pesto rosso, which was more than delicious. But by finishing the dinner, it was already half past nine. My sister and I decided to go back to our hotel to fill up our lack of sleep. But we had still so much to talk about, that we did not fall asleep before midnight.

We started the next day with a sight-seeing bus tour, which was definitely not worth the money. But at least the seats were comfortable and the bus was nicely warm. By noon we went back to the city centre to have some food. We found a nice store which is called “coop”. We have a similar one in Switzerland; maybe that is why we straight went into this store. We bought there some salad from the salad buffet and sat in the central station for a little while.

The afternoon we spent mostly with shopping, because Sweden seemed so cheap in comparison with Finland. Also for my sister it was very nice, because we do not have sections like H&M Home or Zara Home. After a few hours of shopping we were again hungry and decided, shame on us, to have lunch again in Vapiano. Fortunately the waiting time was “just” about 20 minutes.

I saw on Facebook that a friend of mine was also in Stockholm. Spontaneous we met them and Ruben in the central station to have a drink. Fabian, my friend, suggested to go to the ice bar, which is, guess what?! – made out of ice. The entrance was 190 which is 19 Euros. My first thought was, that it is quite expensive to just go in. But the first drink was already included. After paying we got some coats and gloves. It was naturally quite cold in the bar. The glasses in which we got our drinks were also made out of ice. It was a nice and special experience. Despite the convincing words from Fabian, my sister and I decided not to go out, instead having a nice lazy evening in our hotel.

The next morning started very early. The alarm clock rang at 4:55am, because Ruben’s and my ferry was supposed to leave at 7:30. My sister’s flight was set at 11:45am but she decided to come with me to the city centre and wait at the airport. After we bought some grocery for the ferry trip, which takes 12 hours, my sister and I met Ruben again. We all went together to the bus gates. The saying goodbye was not as hard as I expected it to be, because I know that I will see her in April again. But a long hug was still necessary.

Ruben and I took the bus to the harbour and decided on the way, that we should ask for available cabins. As soon as we arrived at the check in desk we asked and booked immediately a cabin for us. The way back to Turku was long, but very relaxing. We talked a lot and had a nice time. But still, 12 hours are a long time!

All in all, Stockholm is a very nice city with its different houses and districts. The city seems to have a square for everyone. The only negative aspect is, that there are a lot of homeless people on the streets. Nearly everywhere we had been asking about giving them some money. That was quite exhausting, but as I already said, that is definitely the only negative aspect.

So if someone wants to go to Stockholm from Turku, book for sure a cabin for each way, travel if possible during the night, visit the ice bar, the old town and have one dinner or lunch in Vapiano. =)

Text and photos by Saskia Kozak

 

My first grocery shopping trip

Before I left my room I wrote a little list with the things which I needed. I translated them with google, to make sure that I was going to buy the right things.

I saw a few guys with “Lidl” bags. I was quite excited because we have the same store in Switzerland. And it is famous for its cheap products, so I was looking forward to discover it. When I stepped in to the familiar store, I didn’t feel domestic anymore. The prizes of the fruits and vegetables seemed to be quite expensive, and the special thing about it is, that the prizes are all written per kilo. So I was pretty confused the very first moment.

When I left the fresh-food section I sneaked to the meat segment. Due to the fact I just eat chicken and no other kind of meat at all, it was hard to figure out, which meat I could take. But gladly some packages have some animal pictures on it. After lurking around I found myself at the cashier with a lot of different products. What surprised me is the fact that they sell minced chicken. We don’t have that in normal stores in Switzerland. We just have it in special stores and it’s very expensive.

As soon as I got home, I felt like having a coffee. Fortunately I tried the milk before I put it into the cup. It wasn’t milk how I knew it. The milk was thicker and sourer than the normal milk. But honestly I liked it.

To come to a conclusion, after each grocery shopping I’ll get surprised by unknown products. It’s not only annoying, but also fun! =)

When I went to the big supermarket (K city market) I found something very nice. I am popcorn addicted and surprisingly they sell flavoured popcorn. So I bought wasabi, chilli, barbecue, cheese and butter flavoured popcorn. It was amazing to try it. But the best part is, that they also sell the flavour itself in form of pulver. It’s quite expensive, but I love it. Sourcream and onion is the best!! =)

Saskia
Text and picture by Saskia Kozak