There are plenty of drawbacks when it comes to hostels. You sacrifice privacy to share a room with strangers. Some hostels aren’t as clean as others. You might be waken up in the middle of the night by a loud traveler coming in the door. You never really know what you’re going to get.
But staying in hostels is one of the best ways to meet other travelers. You learn about the best activities each city has to offer. You connect with people from all over the world. If you treat your hostel as a place to sleep and store your backpack, then the hostel life will work for you.
Anyway, I say this because my sister, Rori, and I met an amazing friend from Finland in our hostel in Split, Croatia. His name was Ville (pronounced Vill-eee), and he became our adventure buddy.
I’ve literally never met a Finnish person before, but then somehow we ran into two other Finnish people on our ferry ride. Ville heard them speaking Finnish. They sat with us, and immediately we became friends. So there’s Rori, me, and our new Finnish friends, Ilpo, Elina, and Ville.
I asked Ville what Americans should know about Finnish people.
“That people are sweet. Shy, but sweet. And people…like, I don’t know. You can find out on Wikipedia if you like. But…this is a really hard question. You did this on purpose.”
And somehow, the five of us got on the topic of milk. I hate milk. Even the mere thought of a glass of milk disgusts me. Like, I really, really don’t ever want a glass of milk again.
Our new friends were absolutely horrified that I do not like milk. I would not fit in with Finnish people. We ended up talking about milk for hours. Who knew dairy could be so thrilling.
Ville nodded, “You can taste milk, lots of milk, if you come to visit Finland. Milk tasting.”
Then they got more excited. All their heads were nodding. Ville continued “Everything, you can have milk with every meal! If you don’t have milk you have water.”
The percentages of milk are equivalent to the scale of diet and regular soda for Americans. When Rori shared that she drinks 2% milk, they all grimaced. 2% milk is considered unhealthy for them. If you order a hamburger in Finland, expect a glass of milk to wash it down.
“You have a hamburger and 1.5% milk. With fatty foods they serve the more fatty milk. It’s not fat-free milk if you buy it with a hamburger, because that makes you a hypocrite”, said Ville.
Ville showed us a picture of milk on his phone. “There’s some article about milk that’s like Finnish people drink more milk than any other country. It says on average a Finnish person drinks 127 liters of milk per year.”
“I think it’s because of tradition and how we teach. For every school, we have milk. It’s not in a carton, it’s a cooler machine for milk, like a milk dispenser. You can have milk everywhere”, said Ville.
At the end of the day, Rori and I figure that the milk in Finland must be completely different than American milk. Perhaps it is light and refreshing, since it is likely much less processed than our milk.
Either way, I love imagining a table of serious business people at an important meeting, all drinking a glass of milk. That image alone makes staying in a hostel completely worth it.
Thanks to Ville, Ilpo, and Elina for the milk lesson. If I ever go to Finland, I will be sure to give milk a second chance.
Would you drink milk with a hamburger? Leave a reply to let me know!
Until next time- Saludos!