North, South, East, West

Trip Start Oct 20, 2010
Trip End May 03, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Finland  , Western Finland,
Thursday, March 10, 2011

The title of this post refers to the fact that Tampere represents the fourth point on this trip compass, as it were. It is not only the furthest north I have been and will go on this trip, but also the furthest north I have ever been. For those who are interested (and I'm sure none of you are) the southernmost point was Heraklion, on Crete, the Easternmost was Rhodes Town, on Rhodes and the Westernmost was Cork in Ireland.

Tampere itself is another one of those cities that reminds me of Berlin. This is very much a compliment. It has very similar architectural styles and also the huge, broad straight avenues that are quite typical of the German capital. That being said, it's hardly a beautiful city. At least, if it is, it's in the bits that I haven't been to.

I suppose that is a hangover of its industrial past, evidenced by the several red-brick chimney stacks that still just above the skyline. It's no Paris, or Vienna, that's for certain, but it doesn't stop it being a pleasant place.

Actually, since I've been in Finland, I have always had a welcome feeling, like the people are happy to have tourists (and their filthy lucre) kicking around, which is a feeling that was sometimes missing from other places I have been recently.

I only had two nights in Tampere, so only one full day. I spent this day, first of all in the Lenin museum, and then the geology museum in the library.

The Lenin museum was in parts both interesig booklet whichting and a bit crap. They give out a big booklet at the beginning which has lots of information about Lenin throughout his life, which supposedly corresponds to the different display cases in the museum, but really I couldn't see any correlation between the two. The booklet was very informative but most of the exhibits were facsimiles of handwritten letters with no explanation as to who wrote them, when they were written or who they were to, which wasn't great. It was disappointing that so few of the exhibits were labelled (and those that were were only in Finnish) because it had the potential to be a top class museum.

The geology museum wasn't on my to-do list when I had arrived in Tampere. In fact, the reason that I had gone to to the library in the first place was that it housed the Moomin museum in the basement. I went down to check it out, but they wouldn't give me the discounted price (€2) when I presented my Euro <26 card, and as much as a tour around the history of the Moomins sounded like a fun way to kill an hour, it wasn't worth €7.

As such, I went to the geology museum which was next door instead. They took my Euro <26 card (by which I mean when they said 'is it a student card?' I said 'yes') and it was a mere €1 to get in. Take that, Moomins!

A lot of you are probably wondering why I would be interested in a geology museum, given my complete lack of history in the subject. This is a question that can be answered simply by pointing out that somewhere along the line my genes were spliced with those of a magpie, and lots of the exhibits in the museum were SHINY. I've always liked looking at gems and stuff, and the shpangliness on exhibit in the museum was much. I will let the photos do the talking in this respect.

Sadly, I didn't manage to make off with a geode the size of my face, but it was a pleasant way to spend some time. 

I'm off to Turku in a bit, where I will be couchsurfing for the first time on this trip. It's going to be a different experience to hostelling I think, and I am interested to see how it goes. Wish me luck!
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