Thursday, 6 September 2012

Tampere: A doughnut at Pyynikki

The early evening at Tampere feels noisy when I cross the Tammerkoski bridge and continue further along Hämeenkatu street. I don't feel like traipsing among the buses so I take a left and move on to Hallituskatu, one block off the busiest area.
At the end of Hallituskatu I reach Marianpuisto park and the silent maiden standing on a pedestal: Atlas-tyttö (Atlas Girl), by sculptress Essi Renvall, 1954, honouring the young women who worked for the flourishing textile industry in the city. The Girl with the Golden Shoes. Where should I go next? Pyynikki sounds good. 
I leave the city streets and step on a needle-covered footpath that meanders in the large forest at Pyynikki ridge. All around me, it gets more and more quiet, and I only hear a distant car passing somewhere behind the trees. It is easy to concentrate on the tranquil surroundings. The only disturbance comes from above: I put my trust on the weather forecast of the morning and have no raincoat or umbrella with me...
The footpath takes me past a couple of long, steep staircases that surely offer great excercise if you love just walking or running up and down. After all, Pyynikki ridge is supposedly the world's highest gravel ridge, rising about 160 meters above sea level.
Slowly but surely, the path rises higher. I meet a simple stone memorial on which there is text that is not too easy to read but I finally manage to decipher what it is for. This is where the sea level used to be at some point - and from where I'm standing now it is quite a drop to the lake down below!
More and more raindrops land on my face so I abandon my original plan to walk a bit further and decide to walk up, to head back to town pretty soon. The solitary sign says something about the area having been taken care of to revive vegetation on the ridge. No idea what measures have been especially advantegous for the plants.
The next wooden steps I meet lead me to the top of the ridge, straight to Pyynikki Tower. The granite structure is not just an observation tower but also houses a pleasant surprise: a café that is open every day of the year, as the sign outside kindly promises.
The friendly café is located downstairs so you don't need to pay a fee to enter; however, to go up the stairs or to take a lift to the observation deck there is a small fee. The place is open until 8 pm - great!
Pyynikki Observation Tower Café is well known for its fantastic doughnuts so naturally, I have to sample one, with a glass of lovely organic apple juice. Delicious! The glass is decorated with a picture of the observation tower; a nice touch!
The walls of the café are decorated with an art exhibition that suits the tower very well: pictures of owls.
I pay a ticket to go upstairs. You can't visit an observation tower without enjoying the view, no matter the weather, can you? I admid that a rainy evening may not be the best time to go sightseeing but actually, the views are pretty nice also in this weather. The scenery over Pyynikki ridge and its forests towards Pispala and the lake beyond is simply stunning.
I walk slowly round the observation deck. Lake Pyhäjärvi, lake Näsijärvi, the famous landmark Näsinneula Tower at Särkänniemi, the city centre. The weather's not so bad, after all.
The visitors before me have already left the tower and closed the wooden door to the staircase. Before I reach the handle to go down, I notice a small piece of paper nailed on the door (free translation...)
The very second
she closes the door after her again
begins the nostalgia
longing for the seconds
that have just passed

Thanks for the poem, dear Anonymous. I play these words in my mind, over and over again, when I walk back to Tampere city centre from Pyynikki ridge.

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