On my way to and from work most of the route that my bus (or tram) runs along is dominated by street-level businesses. With my trusty pocket-sized dictionary, I now understand what most of the enterprises are offering:

  • kukkakauppa = florist (literally translated: kukka = flower, kauppa = shop. There are stacks of florists in the parts of Helsinki that we’ve visited. They seem to sell a lot more pot plants than cut flowers here – I’ve looking forward to being able to buy some plants for our apartment (when we finally find one!)
  • kenkäkauppa = shoe shop. Lots of shoe shops too. A few are having sales (“ale” = sale) on their winter shoes (“talvi” = winter)
  • kirjakauppa = book shop (kirja = book; same root for library = kirjasto)
  • apteekki = pharmacy (not so hard to guess if you understand Afrikaans)

A pharmacy in the Eira neighbourhood

  • parturi = barber (but seems to be used for hairdressers too)
  • pesula = laundromat (i.e. dry cleaner)
  • ravintola = restaurant
  • grilli = slang (?) for a streetside vendor, selling burgers, hotdogs, etc. (you can see the review of our closest grilli here, translated [roughly] in English courtesy of GoogleTranslate – maybe we’ll give it a try after some more running around looking at apartments).

On the other hand, some signs are very easy to read (maybe not so easy to understand!).


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