Finland 2008: Day 4 – Tampere

I couldn´t quite figure out how to get a local bus to some of the Helsinki suburbs so I went to Tampere today instead of tomorrow. Another train and this time I definitely had a return ticket, after the woman who sold me the ticket yesterday being more concerned about my pronunciation of Turku than whether I came back again.

It was cold in Tampere, but that wasn´t surprising. It´s further north than anywhere I´ve been so far and it wasn´t nearly as nice today as it was earlier in the week. I hadn´t seen any rain but some of the roads were wet – but the wetness stopped so suddenly I´d concluded that they must have been washing them.

It was definitely raining in Turku. I´d talked to a girl on the train who was studying to be a teacher and she´d suggested I go to the Moomin Museum, so as soon as I arrived, I found the information centre and got a leaflet about it. Unlike Turku, the route couldn´t have been easier. I followed the high street straight down until I reached a “double road” and it was just on the other side. I found the building itself easily enough but the Moomin bit is underneath and not very well signposted unless you walk around the place.

It was cute. The Finns like the Moomins and this museum was built to feel like a forest, with magic lights in the trees. It had a lot of original pictures and things from the artist all over the walls and they´d built 41 little mini scenes from various books. They also had a little stage and a dressing up cupboard so children could act bits out if they wanted to. The only problem was that no photos were allowed, and they had the usual Finnish set-up of museum workers sitting around keeping an eye on you, and they were more than ready to jump on you if you got your camera out. I got some postcards and wandered back out.

It was freezing. I took a couple of photos and headed back down the main street, stopping every now and then to go into a department store to warm up – that´s the amazing thing about Finland. No matter how cold it is, five minutes in a shop warms you up ready for the next half an hour. By now it was really raining and by the time I got back to the station, I didn´t really feel like going anywhere except back to Helsinki. I looked through the guide book, and it seemed there wasn´t a lot more to see, other than shops and art museums and everything else was around the city rather than in it, so it was ok to come back.

I got on the train and found a good seat only, five minutes later, to be removed by a Finn who managed to make me understand that even though I´d been there five minutes already, it was his seat and he would like me to move. I did but if anyone had asked me a second time, I may have been a little less tolerant of the Finnish seating system.

My new seat was bad. It was backwards, which I don´t mind, but it was between two windows and the one I could actually see was blocked by the woman in front hanging her coat there. As soon as she got off, I took her place, which not only had a big window but also it was facing two other seats so I had more legroom.

My jeans were wet halfway up to my knees and because I kept crossing my legs, by now they´re damp all over. I´ve figured out how the internet works at the station – you buy a ticket for €2 for an hour and it gives you a username and password and you can use it at any Sidewalk Express place for seven days, so I don´t actually have to sit here for a whole hour. I´m going back to the hostel soon and I´m going to eat some bread and marmite and have a nice warm shower.

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