Saturday, March 10, 2012


No posts for almost a week!

I've had a really bad couple of days...I was crabby and as a result, so were the kids. I didn't feel like taking many photos or posting about all of those little Finnish things that make life here different from life in the US.

I hoped that a scheduled conference to Tampere, a town of about 120,000, 2 hours northwest of Helsinki, would turn around my mood. Truth is, poor little Tampere got the brunt of our bad moods.  But I'm sure that's not what we will remember in the long run. 

We took a swanky train to our destination. 

The train ride was smooth and characteristically quiet (well, our car wasn't so quiet after we arrived).   In fact, there is a special little insulated phone booth for using your cell phone! 

greek orth church 2

Tampere is a former industrial town (textiles) that has been lovingly repurposed into an artsy, ingternational small city. I was really looking forward to visiting the "Manchester of Finland" because in my last professional position, I worked for an organization that tried to find new purposes for a similar community back in Chicago.

Sadly, the kids were not too keen on visiting museums on city planning and the transformation from textile town to artsy town, so I didn't get to see those, but as we visited a couple of museums and restaurants, I can confidently say that Tampere did a terrific job of rehabbing some of its old industrial buildings. 

A river runs through Tampere and apparently, in the summers, it is quite a beautiful site for boat tours. Perhaps we will return to enjoy it during the warmer months...

kids by river

The kids and I visited the Spy Museum and the Moomin Museum (that was a big hit) and they have now devoured another volume of Moomin's adventures. 

As we walked around the river ice slicks  paths, we stumbled upon a bridge and a waterfall. The kids had lots of fun throwing ice chunks into the river and watching them float away.

I, on the other hand, had lots of fun photographing the bridge...

locks on bridge

Despite some research, I couldn't find the origin of the tradition of "love locks." They can be found in many European cities (Paris, Rome and Cologne to name a few). In fact, just a few weeks ago, I was visiting one of my favorite blogs (Design Mom) and I actually thought about planning a trip to Cologne Germany JUST to see (and photograph) the love locks!

green lock

It's a pretty romantic notion, isn't it? Each lock is inscribed with the initials of the couple and a date.

red lock

I hope to scout out a Chicago location upon our return.


  1. Tampere is actually the third biggest city in Finland and has around 215 000 inhabitants :) The river and the rapids in the centre of the city provide energy for some of the inhabitants in the city. It's also very famous for its theatres, there is a big, old (and if you ask me - the best) themepark Särkänniemi with dolphins, that's a must see in the summer as well as the GORGEOUS Pispala, an old working class neighbourhood with wooden houses on a hill between two lakes. There is a water tower (Pispalan näkötorni) on the hill as well, their donuts are best in the country and you can climb on the top to see the spectacular views. I do recommend a summer trip there, it is wonderful.

  2. Hope you are feeling better. I know what it's like to live in a foreign country and have all those little annoying things add up...I would probably get culture shock if I moved to Finland, despite being Finnish, since I have been away for so many years. You have been incredibly positive about all of your experiences so far and your kids sound like real troopers too:-)

  3. I loved your blog... Tampere is a nice place indeed.