«Torfyanovka 64», «Svetogorsk 25», «Lingonberry empty» — such messages are exchanged among Petersburgers in Internet chat rooms.
Numbers mean the number of cars in line for border control.
By the weekend, the queues are increasing, and during the New Year holidays, choosing a day to travel, you need to think very well.
Shopping in Finland — traditional Petersburg entertainment. Someone travels to the country of Suomi a couple of times a year (mainly to “roll” the visa), someone only buys there, each weekend bringing a full trunk of products and household chemicals.
In varying degrees, Finnish products are present on the tables of all residents of St. Petersburg who, at least once a year, go to Europe.
Prices below are far from always, rather, they go for quality: there are legends about the difference in quality of the same goods produced in Russia and in Finland.
High quality products for Finland is a kind of national idea.
At the end of the last century, a quality strategy program was developed in the country, which systematizes the relationship between all participants in production and promotion, from farmers to sellers and restaurateurs.
Production, transportation and sale of products occur under strict control, the status and quality of a product are reported by special icons on the packaging.
Thus, a sign with a symbolic image of a swan indicates that the production of goods did not cause damage to the environment. The key image says that the product was produced in Finland using at least 50% local raw materials.
Another swan is drawn on Gott fran Finland (“Good from Finland”), in such a product of environmentally friendly Finnish raw materials contains from 75 to 100%.
Two leaves, one of which is green and the other is painted in the colors of the Finnish flag, are the sign of Kotimaiset kasvikset (“Domestic plants”), the presence of this sign confirms that the products were grown in Finland in compliance with the rules strictly regulating the use of fertilizers.
Geography and transport
You can go abroad for an hour. Many transport agencies offer just such a service. This is quite enough to “roll”, that is, to open, a Schengen visa, which residents of the city on the Neva process through the Finnish consulate.
It used to be that the number of days spent in Finland should exceed the time spent in other European countries, otherwise the next time the good Finns may refuse a visa.
Now there are no such strict requirements, it’s enough «open»Visa and from time to time to travel to Finland.
There are several ways to do this. By plane or train to get to the capital, the city of Helsinki.
But they do this only when it is Helsinki that is the purpose of the trip or a transit point for further travel (for example, if you are going to sail to Sweden by ferry).
But mostly Petersburgers go to the nearest cities to the border — Lappeenranta and Imatra.
For products it is most convenient to go by private transport, if any. Those who do not have their own car, help out numerous buses and minibuses. You can reserve a place by calling, on the eve of your trip, they will call you back and tell you the number of the bus and the point of departure.
And you can just come to Vosstaniya Square, to the traditional place of departure of international buses, and agree on everything there.
One-day trips are very popular: the bus leaves at six in the morning and returns at about ten in the evening. In the afternoon you have a few hours to go on excursions, visit the water park or just go shopping.
Usually the bus makes several stops, disembarking and taking tourists. Here it is important not to forget about the time difference: you will be late for the gathering place — the bus will not wait.
The cost of a day trip is 750-1600 rubles.
An experienced driver always knows where to cut and how to overtake other buses, so as not to get stuck in a queue at the border.
Parting words of the guides accompanying the bus remind the game “yes and no not to speak”: keep up with the group, not to get into the driver’s window, not to draw attention to border dogs, not to smoke in the Finnish cities, “and if you are asked about the purpose of the trip, do not say you are driving «roll «visa!«.
It is recommended to have 40-50 euros in cash with you: “Wives, give husbands money, then take back«.
The route of the trip involves visiting large supermarket chains.
Recently, they began to accept rubles, however, at a very disadvantageous rate for Russians.
Sellers and cashiers often speak Russian, and there are quite a lot of our compatriots among them.
The most interesting and tempting is, of course, a check in to a fish shop. Whole carcasses, fillets, rolls, caviar in containers of different sizes, smoked fish with different seasonings and fresh, which can be salted especially for you … Cost — from 15 to 30 euros per kg.
For the same price, heavy heavy branded paper in which fish is packed is automatically weighed, you don’t feel like paying for it, but this is the custom.
The peculiarity of the summer season — visiting the strawberry «plantation»Where you can buy delicious berries.
If the transport company is in partnership with the Finnish wholesale base, passengers are handed out leaflets with a list of products.
It contains coffee and tea, cheese and bacon, fish and caviar, chocolate, butter, cottage cheese, ready-to-cook foods … You notice what you want to receive and pay in advance.
You do not need to go to the base, at the end of the trip get a package and make the final payment.
About the same products are popular in chain stores.
Unless you are an advanced culinary specialist — in this case, you pay attention to completely different things. For example, on flour. Crossing the border with a full bag of white powder is not an exercise for the faint of heart.
But it’s worth it, because besides the usual wheat flour from Finland, you can bring flour for baking pastries, flour for biscuits with low protein content, unbleached whole grains, flour for waffles, bread, pancakes, smoked flour, mixtures of different kinds.
And as a typical Finnish souvenir products, it is customary to bring fish that squeezes Lapland cheese (12-15 euros per kg), raw smoked venison (about 70 euros), liquorice candies, cloudberry jams and liqueur, chocolates with alcohol toppings.
“Having worked for fifteen years as an editor of a newspaper, I decided that there are things in the world that interest me much more (at least one does not interfere with the other).
One of these things is gastronomy and just food, a priceless gift of nature and the richest part of world culture.
As well as interesting places and people for the sake of meetings with which it is worth going on the road.
And in this sense, life for me is just beginning! ”.