How far would you go for alcohol?

Going the Distance for Cheap Alcohol

Alcohol is expensive in Finland. I know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. It is known. For this reason, I travelled to a different country in order to load up on cheap alcohol.

It is what some might call a tradition to travel by ferry to Tallinn, Estonia, buy alcohol on the ferry back from Tallinn, and carry it home to the land of expensive alcohol, Finland. A big reason the booze is so cheap on the ferry is because it is overseas so there are no taxes. I am not a tax expert (I did use a spreadsheet once, though. Does that make me a tax expert?), but I know less taxes makes stuff cheaper. Also, why is everything not sold on boats.  I grew up in a harbor town (like Brandy) and I never saw people selling stuff on their boats. Did I just solve business? Shark Tank, here I come. I’m getting distracted.

Mr. Wonderful looks great. I just have to know his secret.

I decided to embark on this journey for alcohol for research purposes. If something is part of the culture, I should take part in it. Regardless of how much I enjoy spending lots of money on expensive alcohol, it is important for me to learn and experience the culture of Tampere. So, I reluctantly booked my ticket to Tallinn. It is pretty common to get a 22-hour ferry ticket where you travel to Tallinn, sleep on the ferry, walk around the city a bit in the morning, get back on the ferry in the early afternoon, and head back to Finland. I decided to stick around for a few extra days to do some sightseeing around Tallinn. It is beautiful. I highly recommend it, but pretty cities are not what we are here to talk about. We are here for cheap liquids, which is what my doctor says every time I donate blood.

Many people will use hand trucks or dollies to carry the alcohol off the ferry. Those can be tricky because you need to secure the alcohol to the dolly with like ropes or whatever and they are easily exposed to the elements. A friend of mine tried to use a dolly in the rain and it quickly destroyed the cardboard beer pack, which is not fun for anyone unless you like really foamy beers. If you do like really foamy beers, know that you are wrong.

Notice how they don’t have ropes and stuff. These are amateurs.

This other friend of mine (yes, I have more than one. You wouldn’t know them. They are from abroad. No need to look into it. These friends of mine totally exist. Ask my mom. She’ll tell you.) had the idea to use a large suitcase for much easier, weather-proof booze transport. This was a wonderful idea since it was wet and snowy when I got off the ferry.

When I got off the ferry, I took a bus to a bigger bus station. Side note, if anyone who was on that city bus is reading, I am sorry for taking up a lot of space with my suitcase. Anyway, the bigger busses at the bigger bus station took me from Helsinki back to Tampere where I tried to take another bus to my apartment. As mentioned, it was very snowy in Tampere (finally). After getting on the final bus to end my long, exhausting journey with this very heavy suitcase, I took a big sigh of relief because I was on the last leg of the journey. Then the bus decided to get stuck on the snowy road for a while. After many failed attempts to get up the hill, the bus driver opened the doors to let people out. I got off and figured I would just take the next bus. Then, they fixed the bus and it drove up the hill. I made a terrible judgement call…wait, what’s this? The bus only travelled a little further up the hill before getting stuck again. Phew. I was worried I was going to have to feel regret for a second there. Crisis averted. The next bus was already in sight. I was ready to fly up the hill and get back home.

They better close those doors; the bus might get cold.

The second bus got stuck on the same hill. I just want to go home! The bus driver got out of the bus, looked around at the tires, got back in the driver seat, turned his hat backwards, pulled up his bootstraps, did a backflip, and somehow got us up the hill. The bus erupted in cheers as we coasted all the way back to my apartment.

I plopped my suitcase on the floor and plopped myself on my bed. The bird was in the nest. By bird, I mean alcohol. By nest, I mean my room. After a long journey, I finally made it back with plenty of alcohol with which to treat wounds; I obviously won’t be drinking any of it (my parents read this or, at least, I send them links). Speaking of links, here is the link to the video I made of my journey. Thank you for reading. If you’ll excuse me, I have some wounds to treat.

My name is Dillon and this is my blog and video series, Exploring Tampere, where I experience Tampere’s culture while working with the Tampere Region 2026 team during my semester abroad at Tampere University. The Tampere region is currently applying to be the European Capital of Culture in 2026 which is wonderful timing since I love capitals and culture.