Friday, September 7, 2012

Turku - Of good and bad surprises

Hello everybody!

So, as promised today I'm gonna talk a little bit about Turku, the city I'll be living in for the next ~6 months. I just realized I should really, really write down everything as soon as possible, or I'll forget about most of the more interesting stuff! .___.

Turku happens to be the 5th largest city of Finland, but don't tell anyone from Turku, because apparently they don't like to hear that, haha :D Actually, if you counted Espoo and Vantaa to Helsinki (which you can't cause they are cities on their own, but anyway XD) it would be the 3rd largest!

So anway, Turku is quite a nice city as far as I can tell, though smaller than Helsinki they still have everything you need. The town center is a kauppatori, a market place, where there are market stands every day. This is also the central bus station. Bus is the only mean of public transport in the city, but the buses go very frequently, there are a lot of stations all over town and so getting from A to B is working out quite well!
After I walked through town with my tutor and friend on Sunday, I actually had quite a good idea about the city layout and important points of interest. Fun fact: i have a really good sense of orientation - IF the sun is shining (because I seem to use it subconsciously to determine directions). If there is no sun, you could spin me around a few times and I couldn't tell where I came from afterwards :'D Well, at least that's true for new environments, like the city. So when there was some sun on the first day, I was actually quite happy because I could get a pretty good idea about what is where etc :D
I like Turku, especially the town center with the market square, though some corners of the city seem a little bit reminiscent of "Eastern bloc". A colleague from my school who also does her internship in Turku fell ill and had to go to the hospital and sty there over night, and we came to visit her... I was actually a little bit shocked by the sight of the room. Not that it was shabby or dirty, just... completely empty, except for her bed, a chair and, oddly enough, a flat screen TV. In Austrian hospitals you have drawers and shelves and usually the rooms have at least a tiny table and one or two chairs. (We also made fun of the situation to cheer her up a little bit, because they doctors at the hospital would we refuse to undertake a gastroscopy despite her heavy stomach ache, because they said she has to do a blood test for all kinds of diseases first. We were then joking around that we were all considered contaminated because we come from the "South" and we're probably infested with tons of parasites and diseases, haha XD This has developed into some kind of running gag by now ^^) 

I was also kinda shocked when I first saw the Aurajoki. I thought, well, even the Danube's water is clearer than that! o_O A little google research revealed that the reason for the turbid, apparently dirty water is mainly the area around the spring of the river, which is rich in clay, so a lot of particles flow within the river. But also, a lot of nutrients from fertilizing the fields around the river reach the river bed and pollute the water.... Wikipedia says that 95% of Turku's tap water (which is the water I drink....) comes from the river, but I can't really believe that. I think I would notice if I couldn't see through my bottle with water anymore XD 

Generally, I got the impression that despite being considered a very wealthy country, Finland is quite frugal when it comes to certain things.
Same goes for the supermarkets. When you're used to Austrian supermarkets like Spar, or the new corporate design of Billa shops or Merkur, you'll probably be a little bit shocked when you enter a Finnish grocery store or supermarket. The most "luxurious" one I could find was a Lidl near the market place which resembled Hofer (Aldi) a lot. I've been to several supermarkets so far, also the really, really huge Citymarket, which is like 2 or 3 times the size of the biggest Eurospar in Austria that I know, and none of them made a "cosy" or inviting impression on me. I guess they don't need to look inviting because the people here really don't care how the place looks like where they buy their food :'D

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing this in any way, I just noticed it because it kinda surprised me.

Just like the prizes of the stuff seem totally off and out of proportion for me. At Lidl I bought some salad for almost 3€ (and it was really tiny, too!) whereas a bottle of olive oil cost me less then 2€ or something. In Austria, you'd get your salad really cheap, in summer form Austrian farms or glass houses and in winter from Spain, but the cheapest bottle of olive oil at Billa is something like 5-7€ !
I'm used to be really prune when it comes to food, because I just don't like spending a lot of money on food. I do enjoy to have good quality food, but I always compare prices to get the best possible offer. Here, this is rather difficult in some situations. When at home, I can chose between more than a dozen different brands of olive oil that come in different sizes, qualities and of course, prices, at Lidl I found like.... 3 different kinds of olive oil XD Also, we have pumpkin seed oil, rape seed oil, thistle oil.... and lots and lots of different vinegars, whereas here the choice was much smaller, even though the shop was about the same sizes as a normal, Austrian Billa or the like.

Anway, enough wondrous facts about food!
Just let me emphasize again, I'm not complaining or anything. I can get a nice warm meal at the cafeteria at school every day for 2-3€ which is less than half the price they ask at my home universities' cafeteria, so I'm quite content with my "food situation". Some of the stuff I mentioned was just really surprising for me, because I didn't expect them ^^"

So, on Tuesday we didn't have anything to do, so we decided to go for a walk through the city! We - that means my two colleagues from my university, and me. We actually wanted to go to the police station, because we were told that we have to register there and tell them our addresses. Being honest EU citizens, we were of course planing to do so, and had already asked the International Exchange Coordinator Whatever Person at the university what we have to do there. She said, we only need or confirmation of enrolement, and that's it.

The library. The older buildings in the city look really beautiful. I just don't like the newer ones with that "Eastern bloc" style. But there are very new ones made of brick, steel and glass which are pretty too.

Well, that wasn't just "it", actually.
We sat there for like half an hour and waited (after we had spent half an hour walking around looking and asking for the station, before that). Actually, I observed that here in Finland, a lot of public services or offices do not require you to queue up and wait while standing, instead they'll let you draw a number so you can sit down and wait for your turn. It's a pretty nice and well-working system, especially when you have to wait really long! However, at the police station it was rather challenging to find out which ticket we have to draw, because they had several buttons, each for a different kind of office (and we didn't notice the info service until later XD). There actually was a translation on the number-dispenser, but it was Finish/Swedish and the only English that made sense to us said "Alien affairs" XD So we assumed we would be considered aliens, and drew that number.
So when it was our turn, the lady at the foreign affairs office told us that indeed, the confirmation we had with us was not enough, we also would require a rental agreement of some kind, to prove we're not living under a bridge (ha-ha), a passport (like why the hell to I even have this fancy European driving license when nobody in Europe gives a shit?! What if I had traveled - within the EU - without my passport but only with a personal ID?!) AND in addition to that the whole procedure would cost 47€ O____O
I later talked to a Finish friend who came to live in Krems for half a year and she told me that it was exactly the same for her, but at that time I was really shocked, and actually also really pissed of, because I didn't expect to have to pay anything anymore.
I think it's kinda unfair that as EU citizens we have to pay that much just to tell them where we live. It's stupid, because if I hadn't told them or were not going to tell them - they wouldn't even notice that I'm here! -__- But anyway, tomorrow I'll go back with all the documents and pay it....

We continued our tour along the river upstream back towards the market square, and I took a lot of shitty photos with my DSLR that I'm really not prorud of (like 90% of them were several degrees off so I had to rotate and crop them o_O I don't know what was wrong with me XD) but I'll just be showing you some of the better ones.
We were joking about living in this city, like all the difference to Vienna or Krems. Then my colleague came up with the perfect punchline: "Well, you can really see that the Romans haven't been here." XD
It is actually something that refers to areas north of the Danube, and is used jokingly when you want to describe really weird or seemingly uncivilized behavior or situations. But in this case - it was applicable too, kinda XD

My other colleague told about some local bar that has yet to be found by us, which is in th style of an apothecary/pharmacy. So they give you a bill that looks like a prescription etc. About a minute after we started that topic we stumbled upon this:

First we thought we really found it, but quickly realized it's not a bar, but a museum!
An apothecary museum with original furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries. And as I really adore this dusty and old kind of stuff, I wanted to go in. The admission fee was only 3€ for students, and I think it was really worth it! 

The old shop is nwo the entrance to the museum.

Poison Cabinet

Working place of the apothecary in the back of the store, there was actually a whole living area behind it. On the desk there is a book with prescriptions!

A more feminine room that was probably some kind of living room for the ladies. They had authentic/original wallpapers and furniture everywhere, and for a moment I felt like set back in time! 

The actual lab within the apothecary. We were wondering if in a few decades time, our lab equipment would also be outdated and only featured on exhibitions like that anymore....

This was really the greatest room of them all. This was here the apothecary and/or his apprentices left herbs to dry. All the herbs and flowers in there are real, and when you enter, it smells just so incredibly good, it almost broke my heart to leave to room again... (yes, I'm really fond of nice fragrances....)

I think this would be the perfect location for some kind of Classic Lolita Photoshooting ♥ The scenery just fits perfectly with its colors, style and furniture. I think I'll come back soon, because I really liked it, and 3€ was actually a good price because there was a lot to se :3

We continued out tour to Turun Tuomiokirrko, the Turku Cathedral.
It is the country's "national shrine" (for whatever that's supposed to mean) and was first built in the 13th century, and ever since then extended several times, till it got its final form that we can see today. 

I love colored windows ♥

Obviously :'D

And organs!

So, after we visited the church we went back to the market place and my colleagues went to eat at Hesburger, a fast food restaurant. Hesburger is everywhere in Turku, but there is only a few McDonald's restaurants. My tutor told me that's because the founder of Hesburger is from Turku and he tries to keep McDonald's out, haha :D Also, there is one Hesburger restaurant near the university campus, and she told me that people refer to it as the "academic Hesburger" sometimes, because it's so close to the campus, lol

I'm already starting to get used to living here. Today, I somehow started to refer to my room in the student hostel as "home" (while thinking "Ohh, and when I'm home I'll do this and that"). I didn't really do that before so I guess it's a sign I'm settling in. I still miss my boyfriend terribly, every night so far I woke up because of some kind of strange dream and wished he was there to comfort me, and in the morning I usually feel really shitty. I also had some terrible nightmares lately (including people dying in nasty ways and me being at fault or me not being able to help them... etc etc) and the first night that happened I woke up and felt so lonely and sad I almost cried. But.... we'll manage. We already made our plans that he'll probably come to visit me in February. I really hope this will work out! And for the time being, we have Skype.


Hallo liebe Leute,
Erstmal sorry an alle die nicht so gut Englisch können und sich über die letzten beiden Posts vielleicht gerärgert haben. Ich will es hier noch einmal erklären, warum ich auf Englisch gebloggt habe - und dies vermutlich auch weiterhin machen werde.
Englisch ist wie eine zweite Muttersprache für mich (auch wenn ich es nicht perfekt beherrsche). Wenn ich viel Englisch spreche oder lese, dann beginne ich auch automatisch auf Englisch zu denken. Hier in Finnland ist das im Moment der Fall da ich ja in der Arbeit auf Englisch kommunziere, meine Bachelorarbeit auf Englisch schreiben werde, viele Englische Papers lese, und mich im Moment auch mit finnischen Freunden noch auf Englisch unterhalte, weil mein Finnisch bei weitem nicht ausreicht für Konversation.

Bite verzeiht mir also, dass es wohl in Zukunft hauptsächlich Englische Blogposts mit deutschen Übersetzungen/Zusammenfassungen geben wird. Aber so ist es leichter für mich, da ich meine Gedanken erstmal flüssig niederschreiben kann, und mich dann ans übersetzen mache, anstatt mühsam einzeln jeden Satz der mir in den Sinn kommt zu übersetzen bevor ich ihn schreibe.

Die erste Woche in Turku war von einigen Überraschungen geprägt - positiven wie negativen :'D
Alles in allem ist die Stadt recht schön, bis auf einige Ecken, wo man einfach das Gefühl hat da darf man jetzt nicht so genau hinsehen. Einige Gebäude haben ein gewisses "Ost-Block" Flair, wenn man das so sagen kann, und sind nicht gerade einladend oder ansehnlich. Die älteren Gebäude aus der Zeit um die Jahrhundertwende gefallen mir jedoch sehr gut, und auch die modernen Bauten sind wirklich hübsch. Ich bin ja ein großer Architekturfan, daher achte ich auf sowas :'D Das Zentrum mit dem marktplatz erinnert optisch fast ein bisschen an Helsinki, mit den ganzen Einkaufszentren und Geschäften, ist aber doch noch um einige dimensionen kleiner, eben etwas kuscheliger als die Hauptstadt.

Ich war schon recht viel zu Fuß unterwegs - mittlerweile kenne ich auch das Busnetz recht gut, haha :D - und habe mir ein Bild von der Stadt gemacht. Wirklich geschockt war ich aber vom Anblick des Flusses. Aurajoki führt ziemlich hässlich-braunes Wasser, was man in einem Land, dass man für seine tolle Wasserqualität und als "Land der tausend Seen" kennt, nicht erwartet. Aber offenbar fließt der Fluss durch ein Gebiet mit stark lehmigem Boden, wodurch die trübe Farbe zustandekommt. Schade finde ich es dennoch. Ich hatte es mir hübscher vorgestellt, zumindest so wie die Donau. Aber im Winter friert er ja sowieso zu :D

Einkaufen und Lebensmittel sind auch so eine Sache. Im Zentrum gibt es sogar einen Lidl! Dort werde ich wohl hauptsächlich einkaufen, obwohl ich direkt gegenüber von meinem Wohneheim einen Mini-Supermarkt habe, aber Lidl ist dann doch etwas günstiger. Außerdem gibt es dort witzigerweise einige deutsche und österreichische Produkte (zB hatten sie letztens österreichische Äpfel). :D
Für die Preise hab ich noch immer nicht so ein wirkliches Gefühl. Was in Österreich billig ist, erscheint hier teurer und umgekehrt XD Die Auswahl ist bei vielen Dingen auch eher klein, im Vergleich zu österreichischen Supermärkten, wo sogar kleine Dorf-Billa-Filialen mit 15 verschiedenen Sorten Olivenöl aufwarten XD

Bei einer kleinen Tour durch die Stadt habe ich ein paar Fotos gemacht, leider sind die meisten übelst schlecht geworden XD Daher hier nur eine kleine Auswahl. Wir entdeckten dieses entzückende kleine Apothekenmuseum am Flussufer, dass eine originalgetreue Apotheke aus dem 18. Jahrhundert beherbergt. Ich habe mich wirklich in diesen Ort verliebt ♥ Der Raum mit den Kräutern war besonders toll. Ich will undbeingt nochmal hin!
Auch den Dom haben wir natürlich besichtigt, schließlich ist er quasi das Wahrzeichen der Stadt. Er ist wirklich schön, gerade die Decke und die Orgel haben mir sehr gut gefallen, auch wenn er von außen gar nicht so eindrucksvoll aussieht :3

Das war's vorerst mal. Es kommen sicher bald noch mehr Fotos von der Stadt, ich wollte auch über mein Zimmer/meine Wohnsituation posten und mein Praktikum, aber alles zu seiner Zeit. Morgen muss ich erstmal um 06:00 aufstehen weil ich nach Tampere zur Tracon fahre :D Meine zweite Convention, und dann auch gleich noch eine finnische! XD Ich hoffe die Leute die mich abholen (Freunde einer Freundin) emfpinden mich nicht allzusehr als Klotz am Bein ^^""


  1. Hört sich nach ner verdammt tollen Stadt an :D
    Das Museum war bestimmt mega toll *__* schade, dass man Gerüche nicht in Bildern festhalten kann :<

  2. Hört sich...naja ganz gut an, wobei ich erwartet habe, dass die Stadt doch etwas anders ist...ich stehe auch eher nicht auf den "Ostblock-Charme", davon hatte ich wohl genung in meiner Kindheit.
    Und das System mit den Zettelchen mit der Nummer ziehen und warten bis deine Nummer eingeblendet wird, haben wir hier auch, beim Bürgerobüro, und neuerdings auch beim Arbeitsamt. ^^
    Aber generell schön zu hören, dass du dich langsam einlebst und dich wohl fühlst. Mich würds mal interessieren, was du genau dort machst und und ob dein Praktikum/Job schon richtig angefangen hat. Und wie du es dort findest ^^

  3. Oh schön.. ein Apotheker-Laden und eine Hexenküche. *-*

  4. bitte wozu auf englisch bloggen, wenn 99.9% deiner leser deutschsprachig sind?

    1. Soll ich dir das jetzt wirklich beantworten? -.- Ist das so schwer zu verstehen?

      Okay, ich erkläre es mal so. Für mich hat das eigentlich genau gar nichts miteinander zu tun.

      Ich habe schon öfters erklärt dass ich einen starken Bezug zur Englischen Sprache habe. Für die nächsten 22 Wochen wird Englisch meine Arbeitssprache sein. Wenn ich unterwegs bin, mache ich Gebrauch von Englisch, weil ich nicht gut genug Finnisch kann um mich zu verständigen. Wenn ich DENKE, denke ich in Englisch. Wenn ich daher einen Blogeintrag verfassen will, kommen mir zu erst englische Sätze in den Sinn. Und glaub mir, es ist wirklich ziemlich mühsam seine Gedanken übersetzen zu müssen bevor man sie niederschreibt, und das ist eigentlich der Hauptgrund warum ich diesen Blog führe.

      99% der Leser mögen deutschsprachig sein, aber es sind sicherlich mehr als 1% in der Lage Englisch zu verstehen. Für die Minderheit die wirklich gar kein Englisch versteht tut es mir sehr leid, dass ich bisher noch keine Übersetzungen meiner Posts geschrieben habe (aus Zeitmangel, nicht weil ich diese Leute irgendwie "ausschließen" möchte) aber schlussendlich ist es nunmal so dass ich für mich blogge, und nicht für irgendjemand anderen...
      Deswegen haben für mich die beiden Dinge die du in deiner Frage ansprichst, nichts miteinander zu tun.

    2. Ich lese hier schon lange Zeit still vor mich hin und finde deinen Schritt nach Finnland zu gehen wirklich bewundernswert mutig!
      Schreib du nur weiterhin auf Englisch, ich kann deine Gründe total nachvollziehen. Wenn meine kanadische Verwandtschaft lange da war und ich tagelang nur Englisch geredet habe, fange ich sogar an auf englisch zu träumen und das ist wirklich weird ;)
      Und klar, 99% deiner Leser sind deutschsprachig, ich vermute allerdings auch, dass davon ja wohl hoffentlich auch 99% eine Schule besucht haben/ noch besuchen und daher der englischen Sprache zumindest in Grundzügen mächtig sein sollten, Herrgott Oo

  5. Es freut mich, dass du dich schon ein wenig eingelebt hast :)
    Turku scheint wirklich schön zu sein und deine Erzählungen bringen mich irgendwie immer mehr dazu, dass mich meine Maturareise vielleicht nach Finnland bringen wird :D

    Vani (:

  6. Hört sich verdammt gut an :)
    Ich denke auch total oft in Englisch z.B. nachdem Englischunterricht :D
    Dann wünsche ich dir mal noch viel Spaß und viel Glück in Turku :))

  7. Welcome to Turku! Too bad you couldn´t be here in summer when the whole city is much prettier and ofc it´s more warm then... Haha so funny to think we´re at the same city right now :DD

    1. Ahh bur the more time I spent here the more I like it, so to me it really seems beautiful anyway ^^
      Thanks! I've been wondering if we might happen to run into each other one day :D But if so, I'm probably to shy to talk to you anyway XD


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