Travel log: Finland. Fiction vs. reality

Finland, whose land’s legs and arms lay their fields and gaping spaces bare to the distant horizon, wandering plateaus of shadows crossing the vast acres and seas as if to recoil from the sky… I imagine if you squint your eyes to a slit, the outside landscape boils down to a line seperating high from low. Sometimes one must pass through outstreched forests which are as spacious as the fields, only one level higher up – or yourself being one floor leveled down.

“Sibelius was born here”, in 1865 in Hämeenlinna, in the south of Finland which was back then a part of the Russian Empire. Also, another inhabitant of Hämeenlinna has come to some more obscure fame. Besides Sibelius, the strongest man in the world was born in the 42nd largest city in Finland. His name? – Jouko Ahola. Can you imagine him as a blond guy resolutely marching towards Helsinki (98 km away) to test his strength in competition?

That is what you think of Finland, right? And then – simultaneously – the alcohol, the Aurora Borealis (Nothern Lights), funny elks and the cute huts with attached sauna and nicely powdered snow (somewhere along the line the image merges with Sweden). This may very well be true, but there are other sides to the picture as well. Listen to what the author Katarzyna from Poland can tell us in a weird translation done by Facebook. Sounds more like a Tarantino-esque almost Andersenian quest with elements changing between horror and Märchen in the fashion of a dirty and yet curious detective who is thrown backwards into a timeless universe (“Toxic” by Britney Spears was a nineties song even if it was released in 2004). Enjoy:

“- don’t touch! The Farmer’s market – sales girl in Helsinki is yelling at me when I want to feel something that looks like a dried up, run over the frogs on the scale.
– why?
– it’s poisonous mushrooms.
– why are you selling people poisonous mushrooms?
– they are yummy – octospinosus smiling blissfully – maybe you want to buy to try?
But how can I try it without touching it?
I just put on thick gloves and cook mushrooms 7 TIMES AFTER 7 minutes, each time changing the water. Then you will certainly not be poisoning!
Despite everything, I gave up buying.
I didn’t buy either a hamburger with puszkowanego bear for 30 euros, variety or van Gogh Cynamonowym unspoiled herring in a blanket.
I was picky.
It pays to be picky in Finland.
Believe me that black pudding with jam does not taste too good. More so if it costs 50 zloty.
In Finland, it doesn’t pay to wait tonight. Having a beer, because it may well be that you will walk 5 miles just to go to a karaoke bar in Estonian clowns singing the song “like a virgin” Madonna.
Sing it over and over again.
Every Estonian clown at a time.
Clowns left.
Besides clowns at the bar are three Thai people addicted to gambling, playing roulette, losing everything I have before.
They come every day from behind the bar, for which, no man is an English word to me, so I look, very curious.
It turns out that bar leads tattooed Thai. As she was in a wheelchair, and the bar is high, Thai remains practically invisible.
– I’m happy with it, you know. Customers rarely talking to me. Sometime I haven’t in a wheelchair, it’s still zagadywali. At least once a week someone is sick in my face.
Setting the almost empty wallet ordering beer – for migs, because it turns out that Thai is deaf as a post.
– I don’t hear from when I ate these weird fungi, you know, laments, beer from the fridge.
My dream is to Finnish lager cold as boletus broken at Dawn.
I got instead tatrę and a bill for 8 EURO.
Estonian clowns singing “toxic” by Britney Spears. Over and over again.”

And if you are willing to engage even more, Facebook actually allows to alter the translation.

Thank you for the nice insight Katarzyna!


So much for my “Zimmerreise” for today. “Zimmerreise” is a German term that does not exist in English. It literally means to journey wherever you wanna go but still being physically based in your own room. 


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