7.7.2014 Diverserly yours -Särkänniemi adventure park Särkänniemi, there is one thing at least which Särkäniemi always wins: a number of different experiences. It´s thousands worth-venture attractions: everyone can mix their own day of dreams. I parked my bike to spacious bike stands in front of a ticket office and watch people down on a car park. “Life is much easier with my lovely city bike” I thought happily. It was going to be superb weather that day. I´ve reserved few minutes for standing in queue and having an adventure key. And then… Siina is on full swing! First I met Särkäniemi´s product manager Maria Eskelinen. She gave me Särkänniemi sightseeing tour behind the scenes –style. She led me to Koiramäki (Doghill) themepark. It is based on Finnish writer’s, Mauri Kunnas´ classic books, which are read in every Finnish home for bedtime stories. I´ve never visited there before although it has been built already last year to replace an old-fashion children´s zoo. I was stunned by the change. “We wanted to invest in Koiramäki” Eskelinen said. The Mauri Kunnas-fans in Särkäniemi had formed a planning team and had been thinking about the Koiramäki theme park for several years. At last they sent plans to Bruce D. Robinson Design Group to States. “They did a thorough work.” Eskelinen told. The design group drew the park by visiting old cities in Finland like Porvoo and doing tight teamwork with Mauri Kunnas –deputies. I was so charmed about everything that I saw so I wonder that I didn´t even notice every detail. “Even we park workers find something new here on our every visit.” Eskelinen admitted. The milieu was from just like my childhood. I chatted with living figures, heard snoring from on an antique-style oven and rode on hobby horses! Next we walked into the classic and the most popular area of Särkänniemi, the amusement park. And the calm atmosphere from Koiramäki was gone and my inner wild child got loose! I tried the newest ride High Voltage. A boy´s facial impression didn´t stir at all during a ride. “It was a quite easy. I´ll return if I have the time” Hermanni from Kokkola said proudly. It was midday and I was hungry. Eskelinen recommended Pelle pizzeria which has a new menu. Näsineula fine dining –restaurant´s main chef has designed it. I loved my cold-smoked salmon, lemon cream cheese -pizza. New fresh mix, I´d say. I think it´s great that you can eat quality foods in amusement parks nowadays. Särkänniemi has something for everybody. Allergic people, Midhill, top-chef´s modern hamburger bar, Huvimaja –beef restaurant, Näsinneula´s fine dining and of course the Sausages & chips. Being an adventure park shows its best qualities when we enter the Sara Hildén art museum. I walked there as charmed as I did in the amusement park –area. Exploring doesn´t always mean lots of noise and action. Watching and thinking with fresh and calm mind is an adventure itself. I really enjoyed it: they had all my favorites, Picasso and Joan Miró. Sara Hildén –museum is for everybody. And don’t be intimidated, this art museum is very welcoming and children are also more than welcome. One day is not enough to see everything thoroughly. I could write one post for every area of Särkänniemi and even it would not describe the whole complex. As Eskelinen says: “You just have to explore it.”
8.7.2014 Rauhaniemi -an oasis only few kilometers from Central Square Do you feel stressed and your feet are like concrete? Have you shopped all day in poky sales or walked from a museum to the other? Noisy city and busy atmosphere will leave behind when you hop on your bike and enjoy life in Rauhaniemi. There is a huge and popular recreational area in South-Western Tampere. It consists of Lapiniemi neighborhood and there are located Tampere spa, beach district Rauhaniemi and Kauppi Sports Park. Citizens come here to exercise in beautiful landscapes, sunbathe and the luckiest people live here. In Tampere spa you can swim and get summer feelings regardless of weather. I didn´t realize immediately that the expressive building is really the spa. That wasn´t any wonder because the red brick building used to be a cotton refining factory in years 1897-1934. Have you ever heard connecting a greenhouse and luxury café? When you come from the center, just before Tampere spa on your right is Ansari café. Ansari´s milieu is exotic: you can enjoy your drinks in a historic greenhouse. The greenhouse is built for the factory in 1913.
Hop on a city bike in front of the spa and venture one of the magnificent bike routes in Lapinniemi. Cycle along the beach line and stop for a picnic. Park around is very used. I noticed a theater group practicing there. A play which they were practicing tells stories from inhabitants in nearby Koukkuniemi nursing home. How interesting way to experience history!
Finish your cycling at Rauhaniemi beach and public saunas. Classic beach near the center is always full in sunny days but also popular in cold times, because of ice swimming. Dipping to lake between sauna or sunbathing really refreshes and gives different health effects. In midsummer year 1929 Rauhaniemi was ready for visitors. Café, sauna, dressing room building are original and atmosphere is very Finnish. The beach is parted to two sides: Long, low, morning sun children beach and rugged evening sun ice swimming side. Something for everybody!
Kauppi Sports Park is behind Rauhaniemi beach and many people exercise in its forests before relaxing in Rauhaniemi. Hilly paths give challenges even for athletes. If you have a good homing instinct or map step away from the paths and investigate Finnish nature more closely.
When it´s time to come back to the lively city, you´ll notice that you mind is calm and body is in balance. Maybe you will get addicted to that feeling and take the route again. It has already happened for me.
9.7.2014 Arboretum -shade of rose garden “Here I´d like to arrange my wedding” I dreamed in my childhood. A renaissance revival-style mansion surrounded by a rose garden… How romantic!
Hatanpää area has been known since 1540. Those days the area´s three houses were connected together to form the mansion. Various lords improved agriculture and planted new species in Finland. Especially Hans Boije, who started to grow potatoes as one of the first in Finland. Nowadays a Finn eats potatoes 60 kg in year! Planting beneficiary species led to try more exotic plants and establish a park surrounding the estate. And Arboretum, a park of different species got its beginning.
Main sight in Arboretum is the rose garden. Even if Finland is located so north, plenty of rose species endure here. You can just enjoy a romantic atmosphere, walk around smelling stunning whiffs or assess the spectrum of the species more closely. The place of Arboretum is special: by the Pyhäjärvi lake. Fortunately big, over 200-year-old trees protect them. During the summers a café with full of atmosphere offers wonderful shadowy place to enjoy a day. Also there are temporary exhibitions inside the café. My boyfriend took me here for a date. I really remember that afternoon.
When you are wandering around the park you perhaps notice a rock with an engraving. There is a text:”Egno Kyrios tous ontas antou” (in English: God knows his own) Boije, famous lord in Hatanpää mansion was a freemason, so they are doubted that the writing is for him. Other strange thing I´ve heard is a mansion´s ghost. The last lord in Hatanpää, Fredrik Idman haunts there some nights. He wanders around the park and plays piano inside the mansion. Spooky, isn’t it? Take your bike and check Arboretum out! You´ll see beautiful views and citizens spending their spare time, experience old mansion’s atmosphere and maybe solve a mystery of mansion’s ghost…
Beaches at Pyynikki. Every city has The Beach. In Tampere it´s Pyynikki beach in formal name, Rosendahl beach or just Ruusis. We citizens have lot of names for our favorite beach.
Pyynikki beach was established already in 1931 for recreational area and public beach. Tampere had grown up, people lived in larger districts. That´s why Pyynikki wasn´t so far away any more and it was possible to leave smoky town on the weekends and go to relax at Pyhäjärvi lake. They got their prize after a trip across Pyynikki esker; beautiful, well cared public beach. Great lawns and low beach waters lured both families with little children and sun worshipers. Just like nowadays. Beach ends to Jalkasaari Island on left side. It has been traditional midsummer bonfire place here in Tampere. Most people leave the cities in midsummer but nowadays more and more people stay here in Tampere and it is forming to be a tradition to come and chill out at Jalkasaari. It is great to watch sunset on cliffs and dip in the water in the hours of midnight.
Maybe the beach is popular, because of it has so many different choices to spend a time. In the mornings the beach has calm atmosphere and lot of families. In the evenings you can join little beach parties and you´ll meet youngsters of Tampere. Are you sporty? Try beach volley or tennis. Take a rest, the sun warms you and the lake is just few meters away. Tampere´s local news paper has also chosen Pyynikki beach the best picnic place in Town. There is no shop at Pyynikki but a kiosk offers you treats and the nearby Hotel has a restaurant if you get hungry. No worries!
If the Pyynikki beach is too hectic for you hop on your bike and try the Tahmela beach nearby . It is just about one kilometer from Pyynikki beach. Tahmela beach is known as the most child friendly beach in Tampere because of its long low beach waters and restful atmosphere.
It´ll be a hot day. Pack your swimming suits and experience top-beaches in Tampere.
10.7.2014 Sorsapuisto – Duck Park All you need to spend a fantastic family day Everything began from a little natural water fountain. Nowadays there is a little pond. First there were few ducks quacking but nowadays you can see peacocks and faverolle chickens. Many things have gone bigger but a warm child friendly atmosphere stays.
Duck Park was built during the depression years 1939. Tampere employed jobless people to make a new recreational area in eastern part of the city. The well of the area transformed into a pond and in the middle of it was built an island for birds. Birds have been an attraction of park since the very birth of the park. There are both free mallards swimming in the pond and a collection of different yard birds in Duck Park. Can you imagine, there has also been a small zoo in 1964-1972 with lions called Tam and Pere?
“Please Siina! Let´s go to Duck Park!” my little brother says. Every kid feels welcomed when they come here. A glaring spot of the park is brand-new children´s playground. They have really thought of kids of all ages. Do you venture to try a bird nest swing or a spider web? Next to playground is a sport district with for example cross trainers and basketball pitch. Ohoi Parents, Hanging in park is no boring time anymore! If exercising isn´t your cup of tea, you´ll find a young entrepreneur´s café and Minetti ice cream just behind the sport area. Watch out! On that time your will be shopping ice cream, your kid will notice that you´ll feast. Maybe you should anticipate and just immediately few more scoops?
Here is challenge for you – find all the statues around the park. Viktor Jansson, father of Tove Jansson, sculptor has created different-style statues. Statues bring elegance to Sorsapuisto. In the evening statues get a lighting and you´ll notice new sides of them.
If you are just passing by, looking for calm picnic place, or taking part in some of happenings, in Duck Park you´ll always be warmly welcome and are free to join jamming picnic-groups
15.7.2014 Koskipuisto park -Edge place in the middle of everything Even though I pass through Koskipuisto every day, I’ve never really given thorough thought to it. This park really has got something. Park surrounded by red brick factories, ever so foaming rapid and people, who are late from a bus. People, who sit down to a bench to read newspaper. People, who are catching fish. I love to take a break and just watch these busy bees.
Koskipuisto is definitely not pretentious. You might not find nice little fountains but who needs fountains when you have river instead?. People seem to enjoy their time here. Koskipuisto is a central point of Tampere. Koskipuisto connects the East and the West of Tampere, private motoring and no private motoring of Hämeenkatu Street. If you have to change a bus in Tampere it´ll probably happen here. Lot of events also happen here in Koskipuisto. I suppose that the most popular event is “Teekkarikaste”. It is a “christening” of freshmen at Tampere University of Technology. First of May frosh are dipped into river. On the first of may you can find picnics and other festivities all around Koskipuisto and basically all around the city.
For the kids Koskipisto offers a lot of experiences. The newly renovated playground has creative gadgets and interactive machines for having fun. I really recommend the super crazy dance battle machine. Sometimes we have danced there in the evenings with my friends. There weren’t playgrounds like that in my childhood! Gadgets based on a traditional television program in Finland. Everybody has watched Pikku Kakkonen when they were young.
The park has a long history from three centuries. Koskipuisto was established in 1890 and has been renovated many times since. You can enjoy the park´s atmosphere also in cafés and restaurants surrounding the park. In the park there is little a summer café called Lempi. It employs youngsters and has huge, fresh sandwiches. How awesome is that?
In Koskipuisto you´ll experience workers’ rugged Tampere. You´ll see it´s suitable for everyone and beautiful in its own edgy way.