Written by Red Mezz on 30 Oct, 2007
My summer in the lake riddled lands of Sweden, Finland and nearby Eastern Europe brought me through five different cities each of which left an inordinately distinct and lasting impression. I've spent enough time in the countries of Europe to know well to expect such…Read More
My summer in the lake riddled lands of Sweden, Finland and nearby Eastern Europe brought me through five different cities each of which left an inordinately distinct and lasting impression. I've spent enough time in the countries of Europe to know well to expect such differences country to country, but was almost taken aback and the vastly differing nature of the three Finish cities that I visited. In everything from look to vibe of the places, each was extremely distinct, and had something different to offer. I did not spend enough time in the port city of Turku on the south west coast of Finland to form a serious and lasting impression of the place. I am sure - as is usually the case with all cities - that beneath its somewhat hard and dark exterior lay all sorts of hidden adventures and things to do. If rooting out such adventures is something you enjoy - then Turku might be just the place for you. As for me, it was my first stop in the country of Finland - and left me suddenly feeling that - even being still in Europe - I was a long way from Edinburgh. We took a day long cruise on the Viking Line out of Stockholm to arrive in Turku - leaving behind a golden, gleaming city with a very lively and European feel to land in what first struck me as seeming very Russian. It is totally possible that the cold and dreary summer day we arrived on had more effect on this city than it should have - but for the briefest of moments I felt as if I was in a very foreign place. We walked with our bags through a town made of concrete, virtually with out pedestrians towards the bus which would take us north to Tampere. For the first cold and quiet 10 minutes I wanted nothing more than to get out of this city and on to what I had been told was beautiful countryside and nice towns. We were exhausted after being up all night with the Swedish sun not quite setting through our window and then a long day aboard a ship filled with drinking Swedes and wanted nothing more than a hot meal and to set our bags down. The bus would not be along for a couple of hours, and so in this strange place we looked for a bit of repose. And that was when we found the unlikely and wonderful spot that turned my opinion of the appearance of Turku. A little Irish bar/restaurant sat at a cross roads - looking a little out of place but very welcoming. Inside it was warm and very friendly. (I think it was called The Shamrock.) The waitresses spoke good English and the menu was not only good, but authentic. We each had a pot of Irish stew and listened to local Fin's try to sing Irish folk music live. A really nice farewell. Close
Written by Red Mezz on 22 Oct, 2007
Though our summer trip through Scandinavia pit stopped through a lot of cities from Stockholm to Tallinn - our main stay was in the smallish city of Tampere in Finland. Though considered one of the biggest and most culturally important cities in Finland and even…Read More
Though our summer trip through Scandinavia pit stopped through a lot of cities from Stockholm to Tallinn - our main stay was in the smallish city of Tampere in Finland. Though considered one of the biggest and most culturally important cities in Finland and even surrounding Scandinavia (after Helsinki, of course) Tampere felt extremely small, pleasant, and relaxing to me - and was the perfect place to use as a hub to visiting other parts of Finland and Estonia. A beautiful little city - with lots of great architecture and some wonderful shopping districts, it's very easy to spend several days just wandering the streets and getting a feel for life in Finland. You are more likely to stumble across people who speak a bit of English in the city than you are in the smaller towns surrounding it - but as with everything in Finland it's good to keep your fraise book handy. Especially when food shopping - had we not had a local friend there to help us, we would certainly come home with a lot of strange food! All this, though makes for great travel stories - and I highly recommend you try some local 'makara' (sausage) while you are there. The summers in Finland can be surprisingly warm, though unfortunately we seemed to have chosen the one summer every 6 or 7 years that is a constant downpour. Still - when the sun did poke out and we were free to wander pleasantly down the back streets and parks of Tampere, it was beautiful weather, and we spent a large amount of time taking photos of local monuments and statues (of which there are many) and enjoying ice cream bought from a local vendor. Tampere is well known for its cultural life and many art and film festivals. Through out the spring and summer the city is often visited by both film and music festivals (check out the cities website for specific festival dates.) The location of Tampere is also very good for the traveller - as it is in the southern part of Finland only about an hour north of Turku (a large port for those arriving by boat from other countries) or about two hours north of Helsinki. I highly recommend the bus system in Finland if you need to travel around. The road systems are very good, and very straightforward if you choose to drive (much more like American roads than other European countries I've been to.) but the buses are very efficient and comfortable - if a bit more pricey than you find in other countries. Be sure to bring your student card if you are a student. There are many large discounts available for those who are still studying. Big enough to have plenty of food, nightlife, culture, and shopping - and still small enough to feel pleasant and inviting - Tampere is a pleasure to visit, and a great place to stop in on your way through Finland. Close
Written by Red Mezz on 23 May, 2007
Of the many outdoor pursuits that Finland is so well suited to in the summer time, few can be as relaxing and rewarding as fishing its many pristine lakes and rivers. The pastime of fishing in Finland is one that has great historical tradition with…Read More
Of the many outdoor pursuits that Finland is so well suited to in the summer time, few can be as relaxing and rewarding as fishing its many pristine lakes and rivers. The pastime of fishing in Finland is one that has great historical tradition with the locals and, in general, there is a very gentlemanly approach to the understood laws of sportsmanship in this pursuit. There are no shortages of places to fish in this country filled with lakes and ponds and rivers of all kinds, and there are many benefits to fishing the area while in your visit. As with all sporting in a new country, do check websites or local outdoor suppliers for the most recent regulations and requirements to fish legally. But such things have been fairly straightforward and, once sorted, open up an entire new realm of experience for any journey to Finland. In my time in the central countryside, we did our fishing at a friend's cabin outside of Juva. We were lucky enough to be staying at a cabin whose owner owned the adjoining lake, and lent us the appropriate gear (and coincidentally was also the local sheriff, so all regulations were easily accessible to us.) If you are not quite so fortunate during your time in Finland, I can lay out a few of the basics. One of the best things about fishing here is that, like Scotland, Finland has an 'everyman's rights' view about the great outdoors. This may be a difficult concept for American's to grasp (I still sometimes feel uncertain hiking across a strange farmer's land) but it is extremely useful in this case. It means that there is no law regarding trespassing. As long as you stay out of the direct vicinity of people's houses or farms, you are pretty free to roam the surrounding areas and fish and even camp wherever you choose. I would certainly recommend learning a bit of Finnish if you take this route, just in case you want to exchange pleasantries with the locals you may meet. It does mean, that fishing the spot you find most appealing is usually not a problem. However, it must be noted that there is no 'free' fishing in Finland often a certain strictness in these regulations.. You must obtain a fishing card. Ask at the local tackle shop or fishery where you intend to fish for the best place to obtain one. In general the prices are reasonable in the region of €15 for a year, though you should double-check this rate. You may also need a local permit which is dependent on the type of fishing you will be doing, as well as the area in which you intend to fish. (Lake, river, etc.) Once you have sorted out all the details, relax and enjoy the beauty of Finnish fishing. Close
Written by StaneStane on 24 Aug, 2005
Tampere is very well connected so if you want to reach it you have many choices of means of transportation.
Pirkala is Tampere's small international airports with conenctions via Helsinki to all major European destinations and direct flights to most big nordic cities. Ryan Air is…Read More
Tampere is very well connected so if you want to reach it you have many choices of means of transportation.
Pirkala is Tampere's small international airports with conenctions via Helsinki to all major European destinations and direct flights to most big nordic cities. Ryan Air is the oly budget airline that has direct flights from Tampere, to London, Frankfurt and Riga. Rian Air provides its own bus transportation from Pirkala Airport to Tampere city center.
The other choice would be arriving from Helsinki. There is a direct buss line every 30mins from Helsinki Vantaa airport. Ride lasts two and a half hours and the ticket in one direction costs 20 euros. Bus starts from 1C platform directly infront of International Arrivals terminal. Transportation is not cheap in Finalnd. There is also a confortable and much faster train connection from Helsinki main railway station. Train will take you to Tampere in about one and a half hours. Train ticket is a bit more expensive 25 euros for an Intercity Train. You can even take 615 bus line to Helsinki center from Vantaa airport (for 3 euros).
Another interesting way to travel to Finland is of course by boat from Sweden or other nordic countries. If you land in Turku harbor you can again take a train to Tampere.
Written by StaneStane on 03 May, 2005
Viikinsaari island in Pyhäjärvi Lake is the favorite picnic spot of Tampere. It takes only 20 minutes by boat to get there from the center of Tampere city. It's a perfect place of a family day out. It's one of these places where you can…Read More
Viikinsaari island in Pyhäjärvi Lake is the favorite picnic spot of Tampere. It takes only 20 minutes by boat to get there from the center of Tampere city. It's a perfect place of a family day out. It's one of these places where you can go to escape to nature and enjoy some peace in the woods. Just the perfect way to unwind and relax on slow, quiet walks around the island and then a cup of coffee in the cafe.
The ferry ticket costs about 6 euros for the adults, and boats operate each day during summer months.
Now, this is sophisticated, posh place, a gallery of handcrafted art items and a very good café as well. It is situated right in the epicenter of Tampere. The balcony of the café overlooks the Tamerkoski rapids and offers splendid view of historical factory district…Read More
Now, this is sophisticated, posh place, a gallery of handcrafted art items and a very good café as well. It is situated right in the epicenter of Tampere. The balcony of the café overlooks the Tamerkoski rapids and offers splendid view of historical factory district of the city. It is a very enjoyable place, the perfect spot for a mid-morning cup of coffee. Close