Coupon Vacation in Eastern Finland: In the Hustle and Bustle of Joensuu

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On our way from Koli to Joensuu, we had a brief pit stop at the ABC Kontiolahti gas station. Our next coupon got us two à la carte meals for the price of one. The food was nothing to write home about, but the discount made me feel all warm inside. In all fairness, it could have been the heartburn, too.

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Travel educates: the clocks of Hotel Cumulus taught us that the good people of Joensuu live in two different time zones. This time we opted for a cheap Airbnb stay instead of hotel accommodation, though. After setting up camp, it was time to take advantage of the next two coupons, which were effectively 10€ gift cards to the Sokos department store and the S-market grocery store.

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Conveniently, the coupons allowed us to get all the essentials for free: breakfast for the following morning, hand cream for my dry sloth paws, and a pair of tights for M to replace the pair she had just broken that same day.

While shopping at Sokos, we were approached by a joyful couple of local gentlemen. They invited us to join them for beers by the water, since there were enough warm cans for us all in the plastic bags they were carrying. We politely declined the offer and they took it admirably well. We left feeling great about their hospitality.

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Next up, we did a quick tour of the best sights the city has to offer. I channelled my inner Chinese tourist the best I could and dug up the good ol’ peace signs. My favourite thing in the city turned out to be a curious totem pole by a park.

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During our tour, we ran into the charming gentlemen again, but still declined their repeated offers for beer and good company. We were more hungry than thirsty, so our next destination was the Spanish restaurant Torero. Naturally, we had a 50% off coupon for it.

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A selection of tapas and a local specialty, blueberry pie with blueberry-buttermilk ice-cream, kept me full for the rest of the evening. Monday night in Joensuu seemed about as dead as a dodo, so we skipped the bars and pubs entirely and went hunting for sunset.

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The perfect viewing spot evaded us, but somehow we ended up at the spooky ruins of a festival. We thought the guard would shoo us off, but instead he gave us tips on where to admire the sunset. There was that wonderful dialect again, love it! I suppose technically we could claim to have been to Ilosaari(rock), if we just strategically failed to mention we got there a few days too late.

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Hashtag-thebestweekendofthesummer. Our last travel day was pretty much spent driving back to Jyväskylä. We did stop for a car wash on our way out of the city, though, because we had a coupon for that too. From all the coupons, we only left two unused: one free ticket to Nallerock (wrong weekend for us) and a free blood pressure reading (ignorance is bliss). I’m quite proud of our achievement, really.

Coupon savings of the day: ~90€

Coupon savings of the whole vacation: ~270€

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