Europe diary, day 7: Museums and brewery

Friday 10 November

We woke up around 04:00 but went back to sleep. I was wake about 07:00 but M. snoozed until almost 08:00. I got up and had breakfast before heading out to this morning’s meeting session. The weather had changed overnight, getting a couple of degrees warmer with a light rain and some wind. Still chillingly cold though!

The meeting began with technical sessions on low light camera performance, digital camera specifications (a revision to update definitions of pixel-related terms), ISO DNG, and autofocus repeatability. After these we moved on to the closing administrative material, discussing the exact dates of the next meeting on Tokyo. This was complicated by the desire to have an International Colour Consortium meeting in conjunction the days prior to the ISO meeting, which pushed things into the Emperor’s Birthday holiday in Japan, making the Japanese delegates very upset. So there was some schedule juggling to be done. Then it was into summaries of all the ad hoc discussions, action items, and editing and adoption of meeting resolutions.

The meeting paused for lunch and I just grabbed a cheese sandwich on a type of rye bread roll from the restaurant downstairs in the conference building – something light because I knew I’d be meeting M. soon afterwards and we’d go to the Tampere Market Hall so I could experience it, and try some of the snacks on offer there. Also I didn’t fancy venturing outside today in the rain.

For dinner tonight I tried booking the brewery Plevna, which only accepted bookings by phone or email. They emailed back and said they only had a 20:00 slot available, which was a bit late for us. So I fell back to our other possible choice, the bistro Kattila, and booked that online for 19:00.

The meeting wrapped up a bit before 14:00. I headed back to the apartment, via the shoe repair guy. Again I used Google Translate to prepare a message for him, saying that my other shoe had suffered the same fate and that I thought it must be the cold weather doing it, because it never gets this cold in Sydney. He nodded sagely and took my shoe to repair while I waited. As I sat, with one bare sock on my right foot, a man walked in and started talking to the owner in Finnish as the owner worked on my shoe. He paused his work to come and speak to the man, who took of his own right shoe and showed him. His sole was peeling off just like mine! The shoe man took the shoe and told the customer to sit on the seat next to me, then returned to finish working on my shoe. The other customer spoke to me in English, saying that the owner had told him I was from Australia. So we chatted for a few minutes until the cobbler reappeared with my fixed shoe. Today he charged me 15 euro, probably because after I gave him my shoe he applied minimal effort and the entire sole peeled away, resulting in an even worse state than yesterday’s shoe. Anyway, now at least my shoes are fixed and should hopefully survive to the end of the trip.

M. met me at the apartment and we walked off together through the light rain to the Tampere Market Hall, where M. showed me around, pointing out her favourite stalls where she had bought snacks and meals in the past three days. One of the stallholders recognised her and M. said she’d brought me to try some of the things. I was hungry because I only had a light lunch. I chose a small potato-filled pastry, a rounded bun filled with meat and rice, and a kind of cross between a Danish and a bagel, filled with quark cheese and apple jam. I ate the savouries, then we wandered around the whole market hall so I could see everything, and then we paused to eat the sweet pastry, and M. grabbed one with just apple jam as well from a different stall. The place had dozens of food stalls, selling bread, pastries, cakes, chocolates, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese. And there were also small cafes and restaurants scattered among them. It was a nice place and you could easily spend an afternoon there grazing on things.

We decided to set off to a museum to spend the rest of the afternoon. I’d located what looked like a complex of six different museums in one area and thought that would be good. We walked north and over a new bridge across the river, this one showing off a torrent as water spilled from the lake to the north of the city down some rapids towards the lower river near the bridge further south. Across here we found the Museokeskus Vapriikki, which turned out to be multiple small “museums” in one building, covered by a single entrance fee. Normally it cost 15 euro, but on Fridays after 15:00 entry was free! And since it was about 15:20 when we arrived, this was great!

We left our coats and hats and gloves and scarves and umbrellas in the coat room area, putting the smaller things in a free locker which had Marilyn Monroe on the door. Most of the lockers were plain, but about one in every twenty or so had an interesting picture on it. We made our way through the various exhibits, the first being the Postal Museum, a historical museum tracing the development of the Finnish postal service, from runners and horse-drawn carts, through boats that crossed the Gulf of Bothnia from Finland to Sweden by a combination of sled runners across the sea ice and sailing where the ice broke up, to modern day postal services.

Next was the Finnish Museum of Games, which concentrated on the history of video games, but also included board games. One room held about 20 vintage arcade game cabinets such as Pong, Defender, Donkey Kong, all rigged up for free play, plus a couple of pinball machines. I played some Defender and a pinball machine. There were several displays of Finnish origin games, including Mordheim, Eclipse, and the roleplaying game Lamentations of the Flame Princess. There were dozens of other video games including hand-held games and console games, all rigged up for play. There were also a series of rooms decorated like teenager bedrooms in various decades, with decade-appropriate video games set up in them – these were pretty cool.

Upstairs on the 3rd floor was the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame, which contained lots of ice hockey memorabilia, including three World Championship trophies that Finland had won, and several Finnish national championship trophies. There were a lot of uniforms and gear from famous players. And there was an area walled off with plexiglass which you could go inside and play a virtual ice hockey challenge. There were sticks and a puck, and a screen with video of a goal and goalkeeper that you had to try and hit the puck into to score. In five attempts, I didn’t score any goals! Next was target challenge, where you tried to hit a target on the screen. M. had one of the shots and managed to hit the target! But I failed in all four of my attempts. And finally there was a single shot speed check, where you had to try to hit the puck as fast as you could. I scored 38 miles per hour, which is probably measly compared to anyone who had ever held an ice hockey stick for the first time more than 3 minutes earlier like me.

Next was Finlayson 200, a history of the Finlayson company which produced textiles and fabrics in a factory in this area of Tampere from 1820. It showed many samples of patterns and textiles produced there, plus historical weaving machines and a very cool scale model of the factory building, through the small windows of which you could see models of the workers and machines and video projections of some of the workers moving around doing their jobs.

Downstairs again to the second floor and the Natural History Museum, a small series of displays of wildlife from the region. Next to this was a small exhibit called Fantastic Failure, which was mostly about the Nokia N-Gage, a failed attempt by Nokia to market a hand-held gaming device to rival Nintendo’s offerings around 2003. This was pretty col in a seriously retro way. And the last exhibit was about the history of radio and audio, from crystal sets to podcasts.

Done with this fascinating museum, we decided to head to the Plevna brewery where we’d tried but failed to make a dinner booking for tonight. M. was keen to try their blackcurrant cider, while I wanted to try Finlands most awarded beer, their Siperia stout. We walked in and grabbed a small table near the bar which was designated for self-bar-service, as opposed to the waited tables elsewhere. I grabbed the drinks, and also a bowl of peanuts to snack on as we drank. Both of the drinks were very good. We relaxed and passed the time until it was close to 19:00, and time to walk over to dinner.

Our booking was at Kattila, a stylish and cozy bistro, across the street from the cafe Kaffila where we’d had hot chocolate and cake last night. The ambience was a little bit French, but M. went Italian with a limoncello spritz and pappardelle pasta with pumpkin puree and seeds, while I had some French Syrah wine and the reindeer shank with root vegetables and potato mash with gruyere cheese. We also started with some focaccia sticks with beetroot dip and creme fraiche. The food was excellent.

After eating we walked home in the steady drizzle and turned in for the night. We pack in the morning and check out before heading to Helsinki for our flight back to Rome.

2 thoughts on “Europe diary, day 7: Museums and brewery”

  1. Nice that you found Vapriikki and liked it! We visit it every time we visit Tampere – I especially like the games museum. They also have events sometimes, for example tabletop role-playing games or board games. It’s a bit far for you to visit often, though.

    Have nice rest of the trip!

    1. Yes, it was great – a nice mix of different things to have in a museum. Thanks, we should enjoy Rome again!

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