A few more days in Tampere

In the next days we went for a short drive to Marjamäen Pajutila Willow farm.  It was a nice place, with many old farm buildings converted to display areas for various willow crafts and knick knacks for your house. I was amazed at the price of willow baskets - unbelievably cheap by New Zealand standards! Again I cursed my lack of luggage space. Around the site and along the entranceway were impressive large willow sculptures of animals.

A pair of elephants guard the entrance.

A closer view of the willow work.
We stopped for lunch at the cafe inside and then went home for the afternoon. I've never seen a place so full of doilies and lace!

For dinners Sanna had been cooking summer foods, salads, BBQs etc, it seemed a little odd.  It didn't really feel like summer - more like late spring - there was still a chill in the air at times. We went to the supermarket several times, which was a pleasant experience, all wide clean aisles, and a huge selection of good.  Fruit and vegetables labelled with the country of origin in big bold letters.

I was surprised to find the fruit and vegetables in Finland tasted extremely good.  Far better than what we were buying from the Countdown in Nelson.  Sanna bought some nectarines for a salad and they were juicy and so tasty and sweet, just perfect!  The tomatoes also were red and full of flavour.  It was an unexpected pleasant find.  I hoped that perhaps the same might apply to the fruit and vege in England.

Another food I particularly enjoyed was orange yoghurt. Yoghurt with orange pulp in it, somewhere between 'orange flavour' and real orange. I wouldn't have thought orange and yoghurt would go together, but they do, surprisingly well. I also enjoyed a sort of rye and rice pastie, the name of which I can't recall. Very yummy with some cheese melted on top. Traditionally eaten for breakfast or a snack, I ate as many as I could and grabbed a pack to take with me to London to share with Boyd.  He was not impressed. 


Tampere was also a home to many crafts. We visited a number of attractive shops selling locally made crafts and clothes, but again the baggage allowance really put a spanner in the works. I hope to get back there during this year and buy a few gorgeous items that are worth freighting home eventually.

Sanna also took me to an exhibition of local craft groups - from knitting to weaving, paper crafts and other textile crafts. While this was cool, what was cooler was that upstairs you could hire a loom and weave your own stuff! We went upstairs and there were several people busy at the looms even though it was the middle of a working day. Sanna seemed surprised at my interest - apparently this is just boring and normal here. In fact Sanna had a few examples of things she had woven for the house at home. I know a few folk at home who would have enjoyed wasting hours in here. Note to self - see if this is offered anywhere in NZ.

An old lady was weaving a mat on the loom near the door from bits of recycled sheets and clothing. In the other corner was a girl a little younger than me at a guess who was weaving using fabric and old video cassette tape. I was so taken by this that I asked the old lady if she would mind me taking her photo. She was most surprised, as was the lady who appeared to be looking after the place who had by this time come over to see what the fuss was about. They were surprised to hear I’d never seen anything like this before, and that it was quite normal here. Through Sanna translating we had a short conversation about the establishment and the commonness of weaving in Finland.

A novel use for cassette tape.

The lady looking after the place took us into a little room around the corner, in which there was a man weaving a carpet-like tapestry. Yes, a man. Go Finland! It was to be a present for his brother, and was based on an old pattern that had been on something in the house they grew up in as kids. How awesome is that?! He too, seemed surprised at my surprise, and offered to let me have a go, but I declined, fearful of ruining his good work.

Making a wall hanging.
Another day Sanna took me to the building site she was working on. A set of apartments in the city. The thing that stood out for me was the fact that every apartment had it's own sauna! Some were bigger than others, but every apartment prioritised a sauna over greater living space.

On my last morning in Tampere before Sanna took me to a local market selling fruit and veges as well as second hand stalls, a bit like the Saturday and Sunday markets in Nelson smooshed together. She bought some fresh peas in the pod and we snacked on those.

On the way we went through a park where the council keeps some chickens. Sanna had told me this and I was expecting something similar to the old flock of chickens in Albany, but no. This was a purpose built enclosure for about 30 or so birds including chickens, ducks and peacocks. There were all sorts of unusual looking chickens, feather footed, bantams, and grand old dames. I thought it was all very cute. As did the children in the park. Apparently it costs the council 50,000 Euros a year to maintain them, but the community was so keen to keep them that they were forced to build this new enclosure and build them into the budget.

At lunch time Sanna dropped me off at the train station and I made my way to Helsinki and the airport to fly to London. It was just a routine trip until half an hour before my flight I queued to get through passport control. For some reason it was taking ages, and then they closed some of the queues! The queues for EU passport holders were non-existent, yet the queues for us were snaking back round the room. Eventually my boarding call was given, and I threw courtesy to the wind and pushed my way to the front and asked the person second in line if I could go in front of them. Fortunately they obliged, and I waited. The final boarding call came and I was getting desperate. Obviously I was agitated enough that the lady being served turned to speak to me so that I could explain my situation, she let me talk to the passport officer, who had no problem stamping me on my way. I still have no idea what the hold up was.

Then I ran.
Dodgy foot and sick, I ran.
I got to the gate and it said it was closed, but they let me through after a telling off for being late, not listening to my explanation.  I wonder how many other people were caught out that day. I got on a bus that took us to the vicinity of our plane and then we all walked across the tarmac and boarded. I pity the people sitting near me, as the running made me cough uncontrollably for half the flight.

But I'd made it!

Next stop - London.


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