It’s been a fun weekend here in Finland, the two of us roaming around and attempting to soak in some of the sites and sounds. We got some experience at the local “WalMart,” as I call it, spent some time with some other Americans (and a German and a South African) gaining some local knowledge, learned what paprika is in Finland (it doesn’t come from a bottle in the herb cabinet), and had a Hesburger. Jealous much? 😉
Saturday we went to the City Market, which I thought was kind of like a WalMart. They have electronics, clothes, home decor, and food, all in one location. We were supposed to meet some Americans for dinner, and ended up running into them at the Market. So, yeah, smallish town. I learned a lot in the City Market, though – a lot of stuff is in English (or Finnish and English), they have a lot of American products (including shampoo, lotion, etc), and they have Chipotle Tabasco!! Oh, so happy. Actually, many of the restaurants have Tabasco Original on the tables, which was a nice surprise. The City Market has an American Aisle, filled with (off-brand) marshmallows and Twizzlers and Mac&Cheese and Old El Paso Mexican stuff. We checked out the produce section – they had pineapple and avocado and butternut squash. Yes, everything was more expensive than in the States, but the prices weren’t as bad as I expected. I think the pineapple was about 5-6€. It looked good, too. Bread and cheese is plentiful and inexpensive – I think a chunk of brie was about 3€. Once we have a place to live, I’ll get back to the store and give you a better idea of prices.
We had a good dinner with some other Americans (and a German) who have been here since summer. We learned not to speed, as the penalty can be pretty steep (one guy got a 7000€ fine!), we learned a particular street sign that had been driving me crazy trying to figure out, we learned a great restaurant and cafe, and we learned not to tip. The prices on the menu already include tax and tip, so they seem high, but it’s not too bad.
Today we drove out to where Stephen will be working, to make sure he knew how to get there. Then we drove up to Pori, another 40 minutes up the road. We drove around it, but not through it, and headed back. We had intended to walk around Pori today, to get a feel for it, but we decided to wait to try to get a tour guide, one of Stephen’s friends who lives there.
We had pizza for lunch at a place across from our hotel. The pizza we ordered had “tomato, cheese, pepperoni, champignon, onions, and paprika.” Since all the pizzas had tomato listed as the first ingredient, I figured that meant tomato sauce (I was right), and based on the context, I suspected paprika was actually peppers, not table pepper (which is what I thought someone told us), so we got the pizza without onions but with paprika, just to be sure. Sure enough, the pizza came out with roasted red peppers and banana peppers. Now we know! (Champignon is mushrooms, btw – I had to ask Stephen.)
For dinner, we went to Hesburger, which is like McDonalds. It was okay – nothing special. Also, I’ve now had fries at two additional restaurants, and both pale in comparison to the fries from the other day. I think it must have been the seasoning on those that made them so good.
Boring stuff, I know, so how about some pictures?