I Love You Internet

Trip Start Apr 01, 2011
Trip End Apr 27, 2011

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Where I stayed
Asta's apartment

Flag of Finland  , Western Finland,
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I left Imatra this morning with mixed feelings..

One part of me was more than happy to be on our way. The conversational divide between my aunt and I had taken its toll. Imatra is far removed from the more cosmopolitan cities in the west.. so the people of Imatra have very little need for the English language.

The other part of me really enjoyed seeing my aunt again after so long.. despite her irratic driving skills. Plus.. it was great to meet some of my distant relatives.. people I had never met before. Imatra and the surrounding area is such a beautiful place. I will definitely return there in the future. I just hope that future isn't too far away.

We headed off to our next destination.. Tampere.. to meet up with my friend Asta. I had never met Asta before in person. We met online a few years ago on a site called LastFM (http://last.fm). It is a social network site of sorts.. dedicated to the love of music. I wont go into too much detail.. but essentially it is a service that allows you to find people who share commonalities in musical taste. I would say Asta is the one person in the whole world (that uses the service.. and there are many!) with an extrememly similar taste in music as myself. We became online friends and I knew one day I would have to meet her.

We had arranged to meet Asta in the city centre.. but we got an email from her stating she had to work and wouldn't be able to meet us until about 9pm. So.. we made it into Tampere at around 1pm. This meant we had roughly 8 hours to kill. We put our luggage in a locker at the station and were on our way.

After not having an internet connection for so long.. our first priority was to find a wifi source. First stop was McWifi! We ordered lunch as we have done in various other cities.. and then discovered the wifi wasn't working for some reason (as we have discovered in various other McDonald stores). We wondered around town searching for a hotspot.

We eventually found one outside of a shop called Wrong Noodles. We sat outside the store and used their wifi to send emails home. After zero internet it was a great feeling!

We still had quite a while to go before we were to call Asta.. so we headed back to the main train station and visited the tourist office. We had a look at what the city of Tampere had to offer.. more churches and museums.. just like every other city. We were not going to walk around all day looking for every tourist attraction. We had a map and knew where things were.. so we figured if we came across something in our travels we could take a photo and say.. well we saw that thing.

The most appealing place to us was the observation tower. Now.. Tampere actually has two.. an old one and a new one. The old one costs 2€.. the new one costs 8€. We took the cheapskate option.

It was a bit of a hike.. and towards the end of it the hike was all uphill.. but the reward was worth the effort. We paid the 2€ and braced ourselves for a steep climb up the old tower. We were quite surprised to find a lift inside.. a relief! At the top was a commanding 360 degree view of Tampere and the surrounding lakes. We were also surprised to see that these huge lakes were also mostly frozen over.. a strange sight to us warm-weathered foreigners.

Back in the city.. our legs growing tired.. we went to a bar we had previously noticed had a wifi signal.. the Ale Bar. We camped there for a few hours and this is where Asta met up with us.

We didn't stay at the Ale Bar very long. We headed back towards to station to another bar (the name eludes me). Soon though.. the last bus back to Asta's apartment would be leaving the city centre. It was time to call it a night.
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