In almost all my posts, I have been talking about Helsinki a few times. And I hate when people only link their perception of one country to capital city. I did not realise I fell into the same sort. Hence, I made the last-minute trip to another popular city in Finland – Tampere. I called it last-minute since it was just after Christmas holiday and before New Years; it was still family holiday time for my friends. I thought about not asking friends to host, but finding a local host would be similarly difficult. And I was not sure I actually wanted to stay with strangers during holiday time (as I told you, the holiday time creeped into me some strange feeling). I started to contact all the friends I know who come from quite big cities (in Finland context). I wanted to start my journey “to see Finland the way I have not been seeing” first with the big cities besides Helsinki.
Anyhow, a close friend I met during my exchange in the Netherlands welcomed me to her parent’s place in Tampere. I went to this city two or three times before; however, they were only day trips. They were almost too short for me to build up any reflection about the city. This chance could not be better, even if it was just one night.
My friend’s parents’ place was another beautiful home with Finnish style I saw. One change this time was the house placed inside a lovely neighbourhood, instead of being in the middle of the forest. When I arrived, her parents were out for a late Christmas gathering party with their friends. I have not seen her since September. We used to meet almost everyday in Erasmus. Now, she is the only one from the group of friends there that I still have the possibility to arrange for meeting. Meeting a friend is always great, for each different part of yourself you share with that particular friend. Meeting her is even more special. We reminded each other of the life we had in the Netherlands – the life that now remains only as a memory. Having it as a good memory is not bad. In fact, it is naturally good; because if that experience was not short lived; its memory would have been in another shape. We both know that, and appreciate it. Only in my head, many months passed by letting the memory flashing in every old stories I talked with her about Erasmus, more as an illusion. Even so, we stayed up until 2am in the morning, catching up and replaying all the cuts of Erasmus film, having wine and cheese.
The next morning, the sense of sunlight laying itself on the trees outside is a warning to me that the temperature must go lower. When the sky is clearer, it is colder. We went for a walk around the neighbourhood, as planned. We passed by this area with all the smallest summer cottages I have ever seen. Throughout years living in Finland, my interpretation whenever I hear the term “summer cottages” involves big or medium wooden houses; either near the lake or near the forest or both, as long as it is wrapped by nature. This is my first time seeing city version of those cottages, for people growing up in city who might not have a car or does not actually possess a country cottage. On a weirder level to me, these cottages are actually placed so each other, in the same area, turning it to be a big yard full of little colourful cottages (they were so little; just a bit comparing to the ones I used to see). They are not fancy, more likely appearing as a nice effort to have a wooden house crashing by in the summer, living in a big city spirit. Some houses even look as if they were built to fit for the summer partying purposes.
( This picture here, if you know how much I am obsessed with purple, you can imagine how excited I was to have to capture this one).
Along the walk, she also led me passing by the sea shore and surprisingly, we found a fancy ice frozen shape, after a cold windy night. The water touched the tree and for some reason, it never wanted to leave again, at least not just yet. The walk became a nice little exploration, did it not?
After lunch, we took a bus going to the city center. She hoped to show me the parts I did not experience in Tampere. The center of Tampere is obviously bigger than Jyväskylä, smaller than Helsinki, maybe as the same size as Turku. But with the help of Christmas lights, the moment I stepped off the bus, everything seemed lighten up in front of me. I did not take a picture; because I was afraid to spoil that strangely nice moments looking at the view through my own eyes. My friend explained to me a bit more about the history, how Tampere used to play an important role during the Finnish civil war in 1918. I wish I had noted down more some of the things she told me, but I did not, hence now my memory capability is not strong enough to write down here.
Then, we walked towards the Finlayson factory area. I did not know much about the city; however, I know the fact that one of the most places to see in Tampere is Finlayson area. Finlayson is a Finnish brand for interior textile and sleeping products. It all started with: “James Finlayson, a Scottish machine engineer received a tip from a friend about a place in Finland, where the Tammerkoski rapids ran wild and free. Finlayson founded a cotton mill on the banks of the rapids, which was to become one of the most significant textile companies in the country; and it still retains his name”, in 1820. I referenced here the information, to ensure the accuracy of the real history and there is a link here that you should check out, as Finlayson used to be the biggest industrial enterprise in the Nordic countries and now one of the biggest business to-be-proud-of in Finland
After Finlayson, we walked towards this nice coffee shop Tallipiha. It was across the street from the palace of Nottbeck family. I was curious; so I asked her to walk there and read the bibliography. Nottbeck family orginally came from St Petersburg – Russia, used to be the richest and most powerful in Tampere, during the 80s and the 90s. This palace was built up as their home, but now used as a restaurant. Walking further uphill, there was also another building that is now served as a museum. They present there more about this family’s history; unfortunately, it was closed at the time we were there. I could only took a picture of this.
The coffee shop we went to, Tallipiha, was also used as a horse stable for the family in the history.
At the end of the day, I could not leave without asking her to take me seeing the city view from a high point. I have always been in love with the city views from above, and I think I always will. I am curious how Tampere might appear from that point. My friend also introduced to me earlier there is this hotel in Tampere having a sky bar, so of course I would not miss out. In fact, before we stopped for a break in that coffee shop, I did have the chance to capture Tampere from the hill, where the museum is placed.
And the second picture, was Tampere from the 25th floor, in a sky bar. The quality of the picture could be better, if only I were a better photographer or possessed a professional camera.
The short day in Tampere ended with my ridiculously stupid mistake going to another city – Turku, instead of home. I would share with you the experience soon. Even though this time in Tampere was still short, I started to grow interest in the city. I am writing this now in Helsinki and I have always thought Helsinki could be my next living place, as a change for a start. However, Helsinki is always missing something, which only sparked up in my head last night on the bus going back to my friend’s place. I promise I would also tell you more about this feeling when I figure out words to describe, at the end of this week. For now, the feeling forced me to think about Tampere and maybe, Tampere – for the next step, does not sound so unsuitable after all.