Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A couple of other towns in Finland

From Helsinki, I caught the train to Tampere, Finland’s second largest city, where I stayed a night.  This is what the countryside looks like on the way to Tampere, before the spring time really kicks in

Tampere used to have a lot of manufacturing so there are a number of old mills,  warehouses and factories, particularly along the river.  Today most of these have been converted into shops and restaurants for the tourist trade

It was a weekend when I was there and the sun was out so there were lots of people sitting around waiting for something to happen

Some of them were working quite hard on this

Next day, I went to Turku down on the south west coast.  Turku is Finland's oldest city and was the capital before Helsinki.  Like Tampere, it has a river running through the centre, a brown muddy river right after the snow melts 

and on this river, there are a number of boats converted to bars.  Strangely enough, the liveliest of these was the Aussie Bar

There are lots of old buildings

and although it's a city, it feels more like a large town.  It even has a central market place where you can get 10 tulips for €2 

where you can get pots of daffodils, pansies, geraniums and even petunias (in April)

You can also get more types of potatoes than you would think possible

and (Spanish) strawberries by the truck load

There are also local handicrafts at the market, things like these 

and these

and even somewhere to put that one single apple you might just have lying around

Here are some pics of the locals, sitting about

standing about

riding about

and walking about

On 30 April, students all over Finland celebrate the end of their studies by getting out in the streets dressed like this

and then getting together in the main street where they place a white hat on a special monument at 6pm and put on their own white hats.  Graduates also get to share in the fun.  This is what it looked like in Turku just before 6pm with everyone trying to get up that hill in the distance

At 6pm, on go the hats

and afterwards the fun really begins

White hats on everyone

White hats of every kind

even on those who look a little young to have graduated

Well, almost everyone had a white hat

But be careful, here's what might happen if you play up in Turku

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