Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Road Trip Up North

I know this post will sound very informative but I just had to write about this... A Finnish Road Trip cultural experience....  Enjoy!

During our 8 hour road trip to Kuusamo it was natural that we would make stops along the way.  Either to just stretch our legs, get coffee and/or ice cream or just a bathroom stop.  It was very interesting coming from the states where road trip stops are usually in gas stations in the middle of nowhere and if it's after nightfall you won't stop unless is a QT Station or a fast food restaurant.  Here, the story is completely different.  The places where you make your road trip stops are everything in one; gas station, restaurant, fast food, small grocery shop and in some cases souvenir shop as well and there is always a traffic of people that are heading somewhere.  These places are called "Service Stations".  It's amazing... knowing that no matter where you stop you won't get robbed, you won't get any deceases for using the bathrooms or even by touching the door knobs because they are always clean!!!!.  Impossible you say... Trust me!  It's true!!!   People minding their own business not watching your every move since the moment you step out of the car till you get back in it.  Priceless!!!
In their restaurant area you can find good home cooked typical Finnish meal.  Steam vegetables, mashed potatoes and meat stew are always part of the menu, which I have to say it doesn't taste bad at all.  For those that just want to grab something warm to eat and continue their way, in the fast food area you can find burger meals as well as a variety of pizza, the taste is not the best, but it will do the trick to fill you up until you actually have the time to have a proper meal. 

The grocery shop area is something that I haven't seen before in my road trip stops in the US.  It's an actual grocery store, but in a smaller size.  From a variety your local fresh fruits, yogurts, juice, milk to hairspray, clothe detergent, etc., you can actually find pretty much anything.  But the most interesting thing of all is that you will get these products at the prices you would find at your nearest grocery store, not at the inflated prices of a gas station in the middle of nowhere anywhere in the United States.

These "Service Stations" are everywhere and you can find them in all shape and sizes.  From the modest models where you order and pay everything to the same cashier to those huge complexes where there is a closed in bridge over the highway connecting entire service station, where you can sit to enjoy your meal while you watch cars pass by. 

This country is amazing!  Since I arrived, I have been amazed with the Finnish way of living and I think I can get use to this.  ;)


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