Domestic tourism vs. Going abroad + a quick visit to Varkaus, FIN

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Spending my holiday, going on a vacation in Finland is something that I (unfortunately)
don’t do that often..
Especially over the past few years I haven’t really travelled here and I´ve got some funny questions about that; how do we get to travel abroad 2-4 weeks on summer and others can only afford vacation in Finland.. say what??
Hello, if you have a chance to travel in Finland- you really have a chance to travel elsewhere!!
Price level here is shocking but that´s probably cos I’m so lucky to have had the chance to travel and travel ”cheap” countries like Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Czechia.. u got the point!
So I constantly compare these places to Finland..

Last week I was at the class and saw an article + some students comparison:
Domestic tourism vs. going abroad.
The title said ”One week in Turku can be as expensive as holiday in the Mediterranean Sea”
(Matka-lehti 29.07.2016 Kemppi-Lähteenmäki)

August / one week / 2 persons
Sicily,Italy 920€
Turku,Finland (Sokos Hotels) 1029€
Helsinki, Finland (Sokos Hotels) 1148€
Helsinki, Finland (Scandic Hotels) 1102€
One weekend at Linnanmäki amusement park, wristbands + hotel night for 4= 408€

Well.. a week here or go somewhere else hmm..
Not a question to me!
Sure there are people who wants to travel only or primarily here and I get it! (y) for that!!
Am glad for them and also glad that there are people willing to travel here elsewhere!
Yeah, I would like to go around here as well but time off is limited and I only have limited amount of money so of course I leave Finland.
I dont wanna ”sacrifice” my precious holidays here, having to pay ridiculously expensive hotels, food, drink, possible shopping..

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I dont stay at any luxury hotels (of course wouldnt mind though 😉 ) either at any pigpen (though some ppl would probably think so)- basic room, esp. staying night or two is enough, a bed, bathroom and parking place for our car, other stuff like kitchen, balcony etc. are just extra!
These places we´ve found outside Finland with just twenty or so euros, for example Stary Folwark (Suwalki, Poland), saturday-sunday night in August, doubleroom with fridge, free secured parking, just 10km away Suwalkis centrum, close to Wigry National Park, so lovely location and nice hotel for 27,11€ (one night 2 persons & a car)..

Stary Folwark, Suwalki, Poland / Hotel Holiday

Stary Folwark, Suwalki, Poland / Hotel Holiday

So yeah, I do compare these prices 116€ a night or less than 30€.
Poland is super cheap for sure but as we continued from Poland to other countries our medium price was around 50€ + city taxes + parking but still!! And we were located right in the city!

Next question?!
Of course need to buy some gas but you got to pay train, bus- and planetickets as well.
In these countries we have gone to, it is cheap to take a tram but gas prices are lower too-around 1€ / L (1,30€ was the most?!), Pro-version is bit more. Here, ouch!
We used to have thirsty car and it took here maybe 12 L (in city maybe 30 L) and abroad it only had 6 L cos u were able to go 130km/h and gas was cheaper too!!
Diesel is about the same 1€ (1,30 € pro).

Somewhere abroad..

Somewhere abroad..

.. and man got a eat too!! Last time I went to a restaurant in Finland was my grandma´s 80thy birthday few weeks back, time before that I cant tell..
Our trip to Varkaus, to her birthday made me write this.

So my grandma, from fathers side, turned 80 and invited people to celebrate her there, so there we went!
I took our our rooms from Hotel Oscar and it was a shock to see the price: 116€ / night!
One night, 116€ middle of nowhere (even though that was right in centrum..)
Had to take it, wanted to go and it was already to freezing cold to set up a tent..
Luckily we had our tractor (diesel car) to save some money..

Well, had to spend some money (bye bye diesel savings 😀 ) for Jani´s outfit since somewhere near Mikkeli we realized that our backseat is empty, where Jani´s suit should be hanging..
It was hanging right where we left (forgot) it – home..
We both went in once more and didnt notice it.. even though it was hanging next to our door..
We had our travellerbag so it was assumed that everything is there.. Checked quickly from Google if there is any Dressman in Mikkeli and there was one open! Suits were from 140€ up (huh!) so really didnt buy a new one- black dress shirt and voila!
40€ so there goes our ”saved” money!

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Cos this cloth incident we got lil late, my sister and her daughter (my goddaughter) waited us at the bus-station cos didnt want to walk to the hotel.
Check-in, more make up on, change the outfit & let´s party!
We had so much fun!!
There were other fam-members, seen only once before but fun with- my cousin and her boyfriend are just like us- goosh! That´s our family for sure 😀
Took some bubbly bottles outside (and were brought to!) and had even more fun 🙂
My tummy still hurts!!
Also decided to have some kinda cousins-night later this fall since some couldnt come cos work (if u need delicious b.day cake I know where to order!)
Am so glad we went there and my sis said the same (who first didnt wanna go cos she is not good in cars-came by bus that´s why)!!

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Later that night we went back to our Hotel and had great dinner there.
Great service and great food I can tell!!
Lots of wine, red, white, seasonal, novel, schnapps, antipasto-appetizer, seasonal vegetables with beef and wild mushroom sauce, ice cream for dessert and creamy Baileys on the rocks!
We stayed till the restaurant got closed but why not, great food and great company! 😉

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With Scandic membercard you get 20% off the menu, with two cards
we got the discount for everyone, the bill was more than few hundred euros but surprise, surprise our dad and our aunt paid everything!! Que?!!!
What a great surprise, as u might remember am now a student and cant work much so that was a pleasant surprise (esp. right after our 4 week roadtrip two weeks before this).
Us, the youngsters only had to pay the tip and we got our waitress to tears!!
Had to hug her too, she was super sweet!! Also the chef came to our table and got applauses!!
After fine dining we all went to the pub, next room, our grandma, 80 yrs old partied with us till 2am!! Beat that!
Didnt have to spend a dime there either! Am thankful!!
So the money I had budgeted there, got saved and I can spend them to our next trip → St Petersburg 🙂

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Seriously, that restaurant bill for us 2 would have been way over 200€ + the pub, someone was always pouring wine, bringing new drinks- this kind of weekend could easily be all together 300-400€. Just one night in hotel, dinner and clubbing!
I go again to Poland, hotel Holiday- 27,11€ room and food 20€, shared platter: different kind of meat, 3 salads, fries, some sauces and two Zubrs!! Hello!!
Try that menu if you go there!!

Hotel Holiday, Poland

Hotel Holiday, Poland

I did my comparison and it is about the same than that school work I saw.

7 nights / Scandic Varkaus 812€
7 nights / Hotel Holiday, Poland less than 200€ – then you would have 600€ for ferry (helsinki-Tallinn-Helsinki), gas (about 700km), food, drinks, shopping, tips..
Well I dont say you must spend one week in north Poland but I am bringing you the facts (my trips!).

On our vacation we eat a lot outside, sometimes we eat burgers (no McDonalds), sometimes love to have a good, juicy steak, sometimes it is soup, salad or kebab..
Average price maybe 30€ for us two, food and drinks! Burgers & kebabs are just few euros just saying!

Special drinks are also few euros, esp. off the season!!
Irish coffee, glass of wine, whiskey, a cigar are things I just dream I could buy in Finland..
That is the reason why i dont go out here (real clubs) that much cos the prices are shocking, first you got to pay to get in, then you pay someone to take your jacket and just then you get to pay for your drink / in downtown it could be over 10€, so no thanx!
I rather save that money and travel abroad & have great vacation!!
It is all about choices, right!!

food

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If you happen to visit Varkaus there arent too many choices to sleep at, Scandic Oscar for sure, few rental apartments, Spa Kuntoranta and then few other places 30km away like Leppävirta, Joroinen, Sorsakoski- so prices could be pretty much anything- that 116€ is a lot but it could be more cos that, so if I need to say something good – there u go 😀
We didnt have time to do anything else than – well u know- but there are some interesting stuff too like road to Helsinki (just kidding!)
– Peis Immonen cave
– Mechanical Music Museum
– Paddling, fishing, jumping in the woods..

Wanted to visit Peis Immonen cave, there are 6600 Immonen but who knows if this Peis
dude´s related to Jani and them plus Peis sounds very similar to bass & Jani is a bassplayer!
So who was this Peis guy you might wonder..
Story tells that 1900- something a lonely guy named Peis Immonen lived in the caves and had his skis on year-round..
www.visitvarkaus.fi/ajanviete/vesisto-ja-luontokohteet/luontopolut/

Mechanical Music Museum is said to be one of the best & also it´s Top 10 destination in tourist guidebooks, guided stand-up tour sounds like fun to me!!
www.visitvarkaus.fi/ajanviete/nahtavyydet/mekaanisen-musiikin-museo-2/

Unfortunately we missed also that Mechanical Music Museum but I promised to my grandma that we will visit her again and am gonna keep that promise!!
So next time I wanna visit those places as well!!

About our hotel Oscar, I already wrote the review to Booking.com (I love Booking.com) and said thatwe had great service even before we got there, with that membercard (not my things though), they also gave us some vouchers so we got more than that 20 % off – super!!
We also got late check-out!
Room was big, with huge doublebed, two huge mirrors, nice bathroom with a big mirror again!There was also a bathtube (didnt use it, but I love to take bubblebaths home with nice book and drink 🙂 ), flat iron (which I really dont know how to use- I dont have one…), big parking lot and the best- super breakfast!! I am not any morning person but that breakfast was muy bueno!! We spent maybe an hour there, eating, fetching more, eating..
Not all though, my cousin had the worse and they had to leave the table after few minutes since she felt ”quite” sick.. I had similar feelings but just a little since I took baking soda before we went to sleep that morning- that is a savior!!
Croissants, bacon, pies, sweet pasties, Karelian pasties, fresh juice, great selection of pretty much everything- so yes please!!
Am sorry I dont have any pics- I was too hungry & greedy too 😂
(Pics from our roadtrip 2016)

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The thing I dop so well- jumping from one subject to another and messing up ppl head… heh
SO what comes to the article I mentioned there & to our price level, had few lines from
* Mara´s Timo Lappi, he said cos we have such a high taxes and high cost level we have prices so high here.. DA!
”We have higher taxes but Spain has more black market than we.
VAT and Finnish alcohol tax is the highest in the world..
Ridiculous, I know!! Just reduce taxes and give us some break with those silly rules with everything. I could go on with this but I leave it for now.. 😂

Visit Finland guy, Virkkunen said that Finland has high quality & reliable service oriented infrastructure / it is worth the price!
Well, I liked the room & our bed, breakfast was awesome & service good but 116€ vs. 30-50€?! Let me think..
Some might say that service is so good abroad since they want the tips!
I like to leave tip for good service! I have got extra good service at some places I still remember (TGI, Karjala Bar, Zagreb, Hungary etc.), I have also got some bad service, here & there but do I want to pay 3-4 times more in Finland??
I think I will pass thanks, there is nothing speacial here.
(I know there is someone who thinks that bitches like me are the reason why we have so high prices here- oh lol- old story 😂 😂)

But hey, enjoy your time where-ever u travel!!
Maybe one day if I have mooooore holiday and a lot mooore money I visit Finland more..
Never been to Lapland so maybe.. Some of my fam still lives in Juuka (north Karelia) so could save some money too while driving up north 😉
Who knows maybe my next story is about ”Road Trip Finland” 😀

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HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND 🙂

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* MARA = Matkailu – ja ravintolapalvelut =
The Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa – leading national trade and labour market association in the hospitality industry in Finland

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