ABC – Life Saviour on the Rainy Road Trip

We are lucky, we finally set out on our camping trip across Finland when, after a promissing May, June turned out to be the coldest in 30 years. Not only that, it also started to rain the first evening, it poured heavily throughout the first night and according to the weather forecast it would continue to rain cats and dogs for the next 48 hours. I have rarely seen it rain so heavily for more than 5 minutes in Finland. In addition, of course, our sons gumboots got huge holes, so working off some energy on the campsite playground in Heinola (see previous post) before a drive was not an option. So we went to the closest ABC, the one in Heinola.

There are ABC’s all over this country and they always have the same concept: gas station, great toilets and baby changing facilities (usually including a micro to warm up baby food) cafe, grocery shop, often othet shops too, AND a restaurant with play corner. The size and opportunities vary but there is always at least something to play with while parents can relax with a cuppa. Or have a meal.
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In the restaurant one can choose to take the buffet, buy from the cafe desk pre-made food (=get food on the spot) or order from the menu/kids menu. Especially the breakfast buffet has in my opinion been good value for the money even with a fuzzy eater.

As practical as I find knowing what I’ll get at an ABC for small children, I have to say I’m not otherwise thrilled over these generic places. I often prefer the small odd roadside places with more character. And mostly the food is tastier elsewhere; at the ABC’s the food fills you up and children eat it well but I find it boring and bland.

This time, however, tea, play and toilets as well as new gumboots from a nearby shop served us well!

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7 comments

  1. […] if you are out and about in Finland in general, then gas stations are the answer. All ABC stations and many of the other bigger once have great toilets, baby changing and feeding facilities with […]

  2. Vilma there is no shame in choosing the safe and easy spot for dining with small children. I can’t tell you how many times we picked restaurants based on their kids menu alone. Eventually your kids won’t need all the bells and whistles and distractions that an ABC provides, and you can make the riskier (but perhaps more rewarding) food choices.

    1. That’s how I think too; there is a time for everything 😉

      1. That’s the truth!

  3. It’s always the tradeoff – do you take the “safe” option or risk a place which might be better, with more character, or just worse, because it doesn’t offer the facilities you need? Sometimes you just want to take the safe option where you know what you’ll get.

    Of course, if you have a great local knowledge and can find all the places with character AND good food/facilities you’re doing extra well! It’s just not always the case when travelling.

    1. Exactly. And especially when travelling with children the time is a factor too; you just can’t always be looking longer for th ideal place.

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