We took an inter-city train from Helsinki to Tampere. VR Finnish trains are very comfortable and smooth, run on a wider gauge than English trains and have an upper deck. We booked seats upstairs so that we could enjoy the best views along the 90 minute journey.
On leaving the station we strolled along Tampere’s broad main shopping thoroughfare until we reached the river. Here you will find the former Finlayson cotton mill which was established in 1820 by a Scottish engineer called James Finlayson. He originally produced woven wool but realising the climate was cool and damp and perfect for cotton spinning as the thread would not snap, he transformed the building into a cotton mill in 1828. The Finlayson company still exists today and is a noted Finnish textile manufacturer producing high quality linens, towels and bedding.
Since production ceased in the mill in the 1970’s and industrial use of the buildings ended in the 1990’s it has been redeveloped into a cultural centre housing museums, restaurants, bars, a cinema and art gallery. We enjoyed a delicious lunch buffet in the mill overlooking the Tammerkoski Rapids. Tampere is located between two lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. These two lakes differ in levels by 18 metres and the Tammerkoski Rapids which link the lakes has been an important power source for the surrounding mills, producing energy to drive the machinery.
From the top we could see a panorama of the city and of the beautiful ridges and lakes surrounding it. The views were breathtaking and we couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day to view the city from here. From the photograph below you can see part of the Särkänniemi Amusement Park which looks like a toy town from such a great height.
After all this walking we were ready for some tea and cinnamon buns and we found the perfect cafe for our afternoon tea, sitting on a sunny terrace overlooking a small marina on the lakeside.
Afterwards, there was still enough time to take a look in the attractive old market hall with its wooden stalls painted an attractive shade of grey. We then glanced in some of the high street shops before heading back to the station for our early evening train back to Helsinki. After so much walking and sightseeing we were soon asleep on the train after such a splendid day out in this most beautiful of Finnish cities.
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