How does it feel to travel first time from aamchi Mumbai to all the way to Finland? and if it has to be first solo female travel? Read out my experience with a cup of coffee or tea
MUMBAI TO FINLAND JOURNEY
It was in Feb 2018, I was traveling to Finland for my work and with some excitement and nervousness I took it up as I was traveling solo for official work and was supposed to manage everything by myself. I never visited Europe anytime in past so I was unaware of the weather and cultural differences.
I reached safely after 14 hours with connecting flights and at the airport only felt extreme temperature difference- it was freezing cold and I was shivering. I used to feel cold in office AC too and was thinking how will I manage next 2 months.
LANGUAGE & CROWD SHOCK
Then came across language difference (because not everyone can speak fluent English) and Finnish being not so easy language I ended up taking help from google translator. I was residing in Espoo city which is not very crowded as Helsinki. In fact, in Mumbai, I can see people at night as well but here it was all quiet, no 1 on road, snow all over and tick sound of the wall clock. Kind of restless moment for me.
Well, everything was sorted in the apartment so the next day I thought of discovering nearby areas for grocery & food shopping and finding out office travel routes. While crossing road I was supposed to press button to notify I want to cross the road which I haven’t seen anywhere in Mumbai or India I guess.
ROAD CROSSING? PRESS THE BUTTON
No one follows it either. And at one moment while crossing road vehicle stopped and was waiting for me to cross the road without honking. I didn’t understand as this was not the behavior I have seen earlier and when the driver indicated me “ you go first” I literally felt like crying for so much importance for a pedestrian. (😊 if I wait in Mumbai I will be at the same place for the longest time)
I found the way to supermarkets and there are quite many of them (smarket, kmarket, kcity market, lide , alepa) some are expensive and some are cheap. Most of the products are having names in Finnish so it was difficult to buy things but again with google translator and some apps it was easy to buy basics (Maito is milk , rakha is curd , oil I could understand from the bottle but don’t know if its sunflower or something else)
AMAZING PUBLIC TRANSPORT NETWORK
I discovered public transport is quite amazing in Finland. If you have travel card (green in color) or mobile app(HSL or Whim) single region ticket is applicable to all buses, tram, metro, and train. Isn’t it cool! In fact , mobile tickets are on 25% discount and valid for 80 minutes.
There is something called single region(2.20Euros) and multi-region ticket (4.20Euros). The connectivity for bus tram metro is too perfect. Every bus and tram stop has a timetable and machine that tells, which bus is coming in how many minutes. This makes life quite easy. You need to wave hand if you want the bus to stop for you and press stop button for the station you want to get down ( station name gets displayed on the indicator in every mode of transport.
There are also a few other applications by Finland government which help you plan your travel more effectively. For example (https://www.reittiopas.fi/). If the bus is an orange color you don’t need to show your ticket and you can get in from the middle door but if the bus is in white or blue you show mobile ticket or swipe your travel card from the front door to get it. Well, if you have child and travel with pram you don’t need to buy ticket or swipe card, Its free for mother and child , also bus has feature with move little downwards so pram can move inside easily.
OFFICE FIRST DAY
You can always buy tickets from ticket machines available at metro stations and tram stations or from Drivers. Another thing is ladies drive buses, tram, metro , trains and trucks which is so beautiful thing. It was first day to the office, I reached office on time and started with my work. And found people are quite supportive. There was no difference of behavior in a consultant and CEO. All are treated equally. People get respected and appreciated for the work and not for the position which is so awesome.
MY LOVE FOR FOOD IN FINLAND
I decided to go for lunch with my team and took a 3-course Finnish meal (soup, salad+main course, dessert) followed by coffee. Finns love their coffee a little too much and quite often. I am being honest here, I missed my Indian food a lot but I was also trying something new and decided to finish everything from the plate I took out of excitement.
I found the way we keep plates, glasses, bowls, fork + knife back for washing and throw garbage into different bags was amazing. There are garbage bins for biodegradable, plastic, paper, metal, glass waste etc. The 1st week went in a peace and happiness. Enjoyed snowfall, ran to catch the bus as a habit from Mumbai, got the frozen feeling while waiting for the bus and ate too much than normal due to weather & changed condition
Stay tuned for my next story! Follow me on my Instagram account. Hey, before I sign off, did you liked my first travel story? let me know by clicking 5 stars