Friday, August 9, 2013


Yesterday, instead of afternoon lessons we all piled onto three buses to Tampere. When we first arrived in the city, we  stopped at a park and collected a guide for each bus. Our guide talked to us about the history of Tampere and pointed out all the things that make Tampere special.

We learned that Tampere is the third largest city in Finland, home to the largest gravel cliff in the world and two splendid buildings built with absolutely no straight lines or corners. One is a library, and one is a cathedral. We stopped at the cathedral and went inside because it is open to the public. Inside we saw the majestic stained-glass windows and large paintings stretching across whole walls, each with its own potential for a story to be told of it. The artist did not paint all of them with something in mind, but by the time he finished they all had been given stories. There is one that stretches across the upper wall of naked boys carrying a long garland of roses that is said to represent life. The boys show how life feels at different times, sometimes it is easily carried under the left arm, sometimes it is heavy enough to make you stoop under the weight, and sometimes it pricks you. Another painting shows death pruning the gardens of life, and the ceiling shows the snake of evil with an apple in its mouth hemmed in by the angel wings of good. My favorite however, is a smaller painting that we could glimpse on the second floor of two men carrying a wounded angel with a white cloth tied around her eyes on a stretcher. Now I know where Nightwish got the idea for their Aramanth music video.

Later, we got to explore the city in groups. I went out with three others and we walked around and found a mall with three! bookstores and lots of other shops and then we found a small out-of-the-way pizza place and got pizza before goin back to the mall.

I spent the whole time people watching and learned a couple things about Finns. They are very quiet when walking outside, we could only here their conversations when we were right next to them. As all four of us were American, our loud voices stood out, but no one stared, as a matter of fact, no one made eye contact for more than a few seconds, even if they were having a conversation. Also, Finn walk close to each other, a matter of inches, but do not touch each other at all. The one people I saw touching were married or dating couples or parents with their children. Even friends walking together did not even bump arms occasionally.

It was quite interesting, and one of my friends nearly got hit by a bus. The Finns make an art of not making contact, whether person to person or bus to person or bikes to person. There were a lot of bikes and people could be seen riding everywhere. Outside nearly every store there was a collection of bikes in a bike rack.


  1. Great descriptions on the ceiling!

  2. I finally figured out how to go from unknown to Cindi! I wonder how they teach their kids how to cross a street? We always had you guys make eye contact with a driver in an intersection so that you knew they were aware you were getting ready to cross.

  3. You also taught us to make eye contact with someone whose speaking to show that you're paying attention. But here that's weird and rude.

  4. If you are talking do you look at them? I think about how much we learn while someone is talking through watching their body language. I imagine you pick up those nuances over time in other ways. Do people tend to still look at the person but just not at their eyes?