South to Tammisaari

The stone men of Helsinki railway station

Leaving Tampere and the good Doctor.* I headed back to Helsinki by train to meet up with an old chum from the Navy at Pullman’s bar which is located upstairs in the central station. Pullman’s is a nice place to catch up with an old friend, a comfortable old school decor and a small but decent selection of beers on tap (try the London Pride) make it very easy to while a way an hour or so in conversation. Then it was off down the freeway to Tammisaari where Rob (my friend) and Outi (his wife) have their place.

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The Lenin museum

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V.I.L is in da’ house

And just when you thought that Tampere couldn’t get more interesting it’s a flying visit to the Lenin Museum. ‘Visit’, said the invitation on their website, so I did.

The museum is located in the Tampere workers where (naturally) underground meetings of the RSDLP were held back in the day. Oh and it was also here, in 1906, that Lenin met Stalin for the first time. All wry comments aside this is definitely a museum worth visiting if you have the time and interest, there’s an enormous amount of material jammed into a very small museum and you get more of a feel for the man in his times. I’m left wondering after my visit whether in the dark watches of the night Lenin was as  certain of eventual victory as he let on.

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V.I.L in a rare moment of relaxation, with that signature goatee growing back.

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Original letters from Lenin.

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And of course V.I.L in suitably heroic mode, oh and check out the guys behind him. 🙂

Alexander Church

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There’s a lot of churches in Tampere, and this Neo-gothic* survivor from the Russian Duchy is named after the Russian Tsar Alexander II, yep him of the Blood of the Martyrs in St Petersburg. The church park used to be a graveyard, there are still tombstones lying around, and (so the story goes) there’s also a mass grave from the Finnish civil war somewhere in the grounds. Unquiet history is never quite so far away as we like to pretend.

*Coincidentally Christ-church cathedral in my hometown of Newcastle is also done in that red-brick gothic revival style. 🙂

Welcome to Moomin Valley

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Moomins!

Yeah all right you’ve got me, this whole trip was just an excuse to visit Moominvalley. Well more precisely the Moominvalley museum in Tampere dedicated to the works of Tove Jannson. Like y’know Moomins! Oh alright, I’ll explain a little more, the Moomins and their friends are a cast of fantastical characters that populate the novels of the Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jannson. Moomintrolls are distantly related to trolls, but prefer to live in houses rather than behind stoves or under bridges. The series charts the adventures of Moomintroll his family and friends (my favourite is Snufkin the chap sitting in the tree in the illustration below with his trademark and much beloved hat) as they deal with everything from floods to comets. If you have a young reader in the house with a taste for the fantastical then I recommend the Moomins series unreservedly. Continue reading