Tag Archives: Hobbies

You want to go snowboarding?

by Heikki Salo, degree student in Media

Skating park ramps with tags and paintings covered by snow in pink evening light.

Iso-Vilunen skating park is waiting for next spring – so head for other outdoor hobbies!

So you’re in Finland and  it is winter! You might want to try skiing or snowboarding? Skiing is fun – but of course snowboarding is much cooler. Those can be fun trips with good people – skiing few hours, drinking tea, grilling in those small grilling shelters (what ever they are called, some places have those).

But like in everything, at first you don’t know how to do it. If you don’t have money to book a teacher, I would recommend to ask some friend (who has long nerves) to teach you because it’s going to be hard. Here are some practical things to know.

Where?

Probably the closest ski center for many of you is in Hervanta. The problem is that there’s not so many tracks and it can feel boring after few hours. For others Mustavuori can be the closest one but there happens to be the same problem. And also Mustavuori’s hill is steeper so it’s not so friendly for a beginner.

For beginner’s quick day trip I would recommend Ellivuori, it’s just 40 minutes away from Tampere and most of the tracks are more gently sloping so it’s friendlier for beginners. And there are also few more tracks there so it doesn’t get so boring after few hours.

If you want more action and you are willing to sit longer in a car, you could go to Sappee or Himos. They both have longer tracks, suitable for many skill levels so you could basically go with a bigger group with beginners and more advanced skiers and snowboarders. It takes an hour to go to Sappee and 1,5 hours to Himos.

Ski centers in southern Finland open normally in the end of December or in January. In Lapland they are open for skiers earlier and they offer longer tracks and more beautiful views. But  because of a long distance you should take more time like a week for that trip.

Popular ski centers in Lapland:

  • Levi
  • Pyhä
  • Ruka
  • Salla
  • Saariselkä
  • Vuokatti
  • Ylläs

Equipment

You could buy a snowboard or skis (and straps and boots) but you probably go there only once or twice so I would recommend you to rent them. Every ski center offers rental skis/snowboards and boots (and helmets!). You should still get appropriate clothing as you’re going to get wet and cold during the day. If you want to, you could also try to find goggles to protect your eyes. Not necessary at first day because hopefully you’re not going too fast but those are good shield for your eyes when you get some speed.

Ice plates form of triangle gathered together.

What about the prices: not so freezing cold!

Prices?!

Here’s Ellivuori’s price list – http://www.ellivuori.fi/ski/en/page.tmpl?sivu_id=85

And Himos’ price list http://www.himos.fi/en/prices

Ellivuori has an offer for much cheaper weekday evenings. That comes with a cost that there’s no sunlight. It’s fun but I would recommend that your first time would be in daylight.

If you haven’t done anything physical in past few years, 3 hours could be enough but if you don’t look every euro you spend, a full day ticket gives some freedom. When you don’t have that time limit, you have all the time to go eat or drink that tea. That’s good especially in Himos, as it is so huge place where some people might want to just wander around.

Next day

Don’t plan to do anything physical the next day. Your abs and bum is going to hurt after the first day. If not, you probably didn’t even try.

Don’t even try to do any fancy tricks at the first time, you’re just going to break yourself.

Live music in Tampere

by Teppo Hyttinen, degree student in Media

A rock vocalist standing on a stage hands up, a microphone in his left hand, blue lights in the background

Wow! It’s Olli Hermann, vocalist of Reckless Love – Southpark Festival 2015. Photo: Carolin Büttner

Finnish music scene is extremely lively considering the small size of the country. Especially on the rock and metal side of music, Finnish live-music scene is doing well. Tampere is known as the “rock” city of Finland, home to dozens of well-known rock and metal bands.

Tampere has several well-known venues throughout the city, as well as popular festivals and events throughout the year. Some of the most popular venues are Pakkahuone and Klubi and they are host for hundreds of events every year, ranging from smaller bands to very popular artists. Other known venues are Yo-Talo, the legendary Vastavirta, Amadeus and the slightly newer Jack the Rooster. And let’s not forget Hervanta’s Varjobaari either. These venues offer wide range of different kinds of music for the listener to enjoy, at a reasonable price. There’s a gig somewhere pretty much every day in Tampere, and a big artist at least once a week.

Purple colour scheme of singing rock vocalist, a guitar player behind him.

The gig of Stala & So at Jack the Rooster. Photo: Carolin Büttner

Tampere also has a sports stadium and an ice stadium for festivals and worldwide known artists. Notable festivals and events in Tampere throughout the years has been Sauna Open Air Metal Festival (which was held for the last time in 2013, replaced by Southpark Festival), Tammerfest, Blockfest, Tampere Medieval Folkfest and many many more!

So if it’s live music you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with Tampere!

 

The Ice Hockey Madness of Finland

by Ville  Välimäki, degree student in Media

Icehockey players on a white ice - bleachers in darkness

On a video you would hear commentaries, cheers, whistles, commercials… the ice of Hakametsä arena.

Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Finland, and Finland has twice won the World Championship: in 1995 and 2011. (Clip of Finland going crazy after 2011 world championship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlltIY9v5Og) Hockey is a hobby for almost 200,000 Finns and there are about 68,000 registered players, 430 clubs, 3,000 teams and 40,000 games played per season!

In Finland not long after WWII, kids played street game called “ice ball”, which was a really simplified version of ice hockey as we know now. They’d scramble through neighborhoods buried in snow, batting and kicking a piece of cork the size of a tennis ball. But some of the more serious kids wanted to play hockey and eventually got the right gear and started to play more professionally. Back then, teams weren’t especially well organized: the worst athlete was usually stuck in front of a net, while the better ones attacked. The same passion for ice hockey is still around and when kids learn to walk they are taught to ice skate pretty soon after and ice hockey is practiced all the way from pre-school.

The Liiga
Liiga is the top professional ice hockey league in Finland. Teams are situated in the major cities of Finland and they usually have a significant following in their own city. The team names are usually the traditional name of the club. All clubs are commonly known by the name of their team. Trophy awarded annually to the winner of the liiga playoffs is called The Kanada-malja “Canada Bowl”. The trophy is so named because it was donated by Canada’s Finnish community in 1951 and has been the main prize for the winning team each year.

Ice arena screen showing the situation in a match

The fatal last minutes in the final match last spring.

Tappara or Ilves?
Tampere has two major ice hockey teams: Tappara and Ilves. It’s an old debate whether you choose Tappara or Ilves as your own Tampere team. There is no real explanation why someone chooses one team over the other, but if you ask anyone from Tampere about it, most of the people have a favorite team and strong opinions about the other team.

I definitely recommend taking a group of mates and head to see a game in the legendary Hakametsä Ice Hockey hall, which is the oldest hall in Finland and feel the real ice hockey vibes yourself.

Learn more:
http://www.finhockey.fi/info/in_english/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampere_Ice_Stadium
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tappara
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilves

Sources for images:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Lanm-qiVClo/TdLyymEK46I/AAAAAAAAAC0/-NbzKoTBdpw/s640/7984203_jpg_191558a1.jpg

http://img.yle.fi/urheilu/jaakiekko/sm-liiga/article7170705.ece/ALTERNATES/w960/Tappara%20sis%C3%A4%C3%A4ntulo%20Hakamets%C3%A4.jpg

Liiga.ed

It’s time to find delicates in forests!

by Iiro Jalava, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A bunch of funnel chantarelles growing in a forest

They just can’t be resisted!

In Finland we have a thing called everyman’s right. It gives you freedom to wander in wilderness regardless of the person or organization owning the lands for example. Only prohibited things are entering in the direct closeness of personal yards or entering specifically prohibited areas. So now we have this great freedom, what can we do with it?!

I take and advantage of this privilege every autumn and head with my family (inc. persons and dogs) into the woods. In forest I try to collect mushrooms called Suppilovahvero. It is a great cooking mushroom with delicate taste in it. It suits especially well with a game hunted around the same time. Other way to prepare it is mix it with some cream, white pepper, salt and cook it a bit. Yummy!

One must be careful though when collecting these mushrooms. The correct ones have a funnel pointing towards the ground. Very similar looking mushroom with pointy hat pointing up are very poisonous and should not be touched or collected. So if you are heading into the woods to try and find these treasures it is best to have an experienced guide with you because these are not easily found from every corner. Good luck in hunting for everyone!

Right to roam

by Lauri Kohtala, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A rocky forest scenery: a lean-to in the background, a bit smoke lifting in the air.

Let’s enjoy life in forests!

Exploring the forests is fun. Just very near here in Tampere. You don’t have to travel to Lapland! Take your backpack, camera, binoculars, map and even sleeping bag. Go out to see wild animals, birds, scenery or pick some blueberries. The legistlation allows you to move in the forests freely (excl. motorized vechiles), pick up mushrooms and wild berries.

In spring time you can find a lot of horny birds singing in the forest. In summer you can pick up  blueberries and wild strawberries and in autumn lingonberries and mushrooms – for exemple chanterelles. Some of the forests have lean-to shelters and fireplaces, where you can spend the night. You can also take a tent and a portable cooker and spend your night anywhere in the forest when you remember that making an open fire is forbidden.

If you wish to find lean-to shelters or fire places for open fire you can visit recreational area websites. In most of the private owned forests there are no places for open fire or shelters for sleeping. Recreational area associations (Virkistysalueyhdistys) have usually maps of the areas where they have fire places and shelters on their websites. It’s nice to make one day trip with your friends also and just go and barbecue some sausages or corn.

Links:
Everyman’s rights (Right to Roam):
http://www.ymparisto.fi/en-US/Nature There is a link to .pdf in the right side of the site.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam#Finland

Recreational area association websites:
Pirkanmaan virkistysalueyhdistys – http://www.pirkanmaanvirkistysalueyhdistys.fi/index.asp (In Finnish)
Hämeen virkistysalueyhdistys – http://www.pirkanmaanvirkistysalueyhdistys.fi/index.asp (in Finnish)

My experiences with Finland: Its culture, its nature, its habits and its people

by Theresa Fein, exchange student from Germany

a map around Baltic Sea and the route from Lahnstein to Tampere

To the other side of Baltic Sea

It all started on a cold and snowy winter day in Germany. Our suitcases (my boyfriend accompanied me the first couple of days) were packed and my tutor was willing to pick us up in the middle of the night, which we highly appreciated! The landing in Helsinki was awful, because of all the wind. I am not a big flyer and the complete airplane shaking did not make it easier! Then finally arrived in Tampere the next shock: what a tiny airport! Only one baggage conveyor belt and one hall for both arrival and departure – it felt kind of homely.

We did not have to wait long for the next surprise. Nearly 2,000 kilometres up north and no snow! We left a snowy country to actually fly to a wintrier one and then this! It was super cold and windy, but no snow! Luckily we did not have to wait long for it. What depressed me most during my whole time now in Finland were the long nights. It got day, but the sky was still grey and rather dark. You feel tired and unmotivated to even leave the house, although my 12m2 room was not a better alternative. Nevertheless were the few sunny days I have had so far the best times I have had here! Due to such cold temperatures, the lake next to my apartment was frozen (which is already fascinating for us, since we have never ever seen such a huge water area frozen!) and we could walk on it, which was a fantastic feeling. The Finns are even crazy enough to put a café right in the middle of it.

A girl and a boy kissing in a sun shine , the sky is clear blue and in the background there are two persons skating.

What a feeling on the ice of Näsijärvi lake!

The next thing that comes to my mind when thinking of Finns is their hobby: Sauna! On one day, when it was minus 23 degrees we did a walk around the lake and saw people coming from the sauna and swimming in the freezing water, just unbelievable for us Germans.

In general I have to say that Finns are very nice and friendly people, although they are rather quiet and shy. Before coming here I had the stereotype in mind, that most people are blond and blue-eyed, which I quickly got rid of!

Furthermore is it very impressive how sportive most of them are. Even on icy and therefore slippery ground they go for a run. In Germany no one would ever think of such life-endangering things!

Another amusing thing is encountered were words like: “kioski”, “posti” or (because we came here when the Film “The Hobbit” started) “Hobitti”. It is easy for us to understand them, because Finns have just added an “i” at the end to the original German word, so that we could understand them. With all of the other words it did not work at all. When we are in France or Spain and are reading street signs, familiar. With Finnish it is impossible! The words are even so long that you cannot properly pronounce them.

Two ice hockey teams standing in lines opposite each others on the ice of an arena.

We spurred a local team Tappara, didn’t we?

When comparing Germany and Finland it is obvious, that all products and especially alcohol (which you can only buy in have to go home – although – sometimes this might be a good thing.

I still remember the first time I visited my tutor at home, he was watching ice hockey – incomprehensibly for me! Who on earth would watch ice hockey, when it is possible to watch football?! Even after seeing one match in a stadium I still do not understand this hype.

When I did a day trip to Helsinki, the first thing I saw was a Muumi. I guess I have seen this gesture before, but honestly it is not very popular in Germany. In Helsinki they have several stores, where they only sell things with Muumis on: papers, cups, plates and even dresses. Also in Tampere they are following me: here is a museum only about Muumis! Quite interesting to see what high status this figure has here.

A Cathedral building in the background after stairs, young foreigners standing in wind in the foreground.

A part of monumental centre of Helsinki : cathedral (1852) by a German architect Carl Ludvig Engel.

And until now my last very surprising fact about Finland or in this case Helsinki: some of the main shopping streets are heated! When I was there in winter I was already wondering, why the streets were dry and no snow hills left in the corners. After a short Google search I figured out that they truly do heat these streets – very impressive, isn’t it?

 

The Channel Number One – Radio Rock

by Jarmo Hirvikoski, degree student in Media

 

RadioRock1.ed

 

You might already know that rock and metal music is quite popular in Finland. What you might not know is that there aren’t many Finnish radio channels that are dedicated to play songs solely from those genres. Luckily Finland has Radio Rock, and it makes up for that quite nicely. Its broadcasting began in January 2007 and the first song that the station played was Metallica – Master of Puppets. Radio Rock is one of the most popular radio channels in Finland these days.

Playing great songs from both Finnish and foreign bands is coupled with interesting competitions. You can, for example, try to beat another competitor with your musical knowledge or simply try to be the first one who calls to the studio when a specific song is played. Prizes often are free festival tickets and backstage passes to gigs in Finland and foreign countries, Radio Rock apparel, or gift cards to different shops (e.g. Gigantti and Disturb). Famous artists also visit the shows every now and then, and those visits are usually funnier than their visits to other radio channels because they can act more freely. That usually means cursing and being honest with their opinions. The channel also organizes cruises, which are very popular because you get a chance to meet many Finnish artists.

RadioRock2.ed

Big part of Radio Rock’s charm comes from its speaker persons or hosts. Shows like Heikelä Korporaatio are highly entertaining because the speakers, Jussi Heikelä and Harri Moisio, discuss about various topics with humoristic, honest and occasional ”I don’t give a damn what others think” attitude. Visiting artists probably like to visit them because of that. Artists and media celebrities even host some of the shows. For example, Jussi 69 from The 69 Eyes has his own show called ”Rock ‘n Roll Circus”. In summer and December, there are special shows called ”Kesäpojat” (Summer boys) and ”Tiernapojat” (Star boys) with their own guest hosts. Artists from Kotiteollisuus, Lovex, Stam1na, Apulanta and Maj Karma have already shown their hosting skills.

So, Radio Rock is more than recommendable if you want to listen to Finnish rock music, hear Finnish rock stars’ honest thoughts and win cool stuff. And simultaneously learn some Finnish.

http://www.radiorock.fi/

 

Let’s go to Rajaportti public sauna!

 

Sauna and cafeteria buildings in Pispala, Tampere

Heated stones are waiting for you in Rajaportti sauna: welcome!

by Waltteri Lahti, degree student in Media

As a Finn or student of Finnish you’ve most likely faced one of the most important things we Finns are truly proud of – no, I’m not talking about Angry Birds – I’m talking about saunas. For centuries saunas have been a place for cleansing and relaxing the body and mind. These nearly meditative warm rooms  are meant not only to wash yourself but to socialize and meet other people as well. In this case I’m referring mainly to public saunas.

I’m 23 years old now and the first time I went to a public sauna was less than two years ago. In fact, not many Finns visit or have been to public saunas at all. And when I talk about public saunas I mean places that only include a sauna – not the ones in spas for example. There are many public saunas across Finland mainly focused to the cities. I’m going to tell you about the best one in Tampere which is called Rajaportti.

The sauna of Rajaportti has stood in the same place for over a decade and it’s the oldest public sauna in Finland that’s still in use. It was built in the early 20th century next to a shop and bakery. Since 1989 Pispala sauna association has been responsible for activities and maintenance of the sauna. In addition to the sauna, there is a café where you can buy something to drink and eat before, after or in the middle of going to the sauna. The environment feels like you’ve gone back in time and many people visit just for the nostalgia of good old days. The entrance fee of the sauna is 5 € or 8 € depending on the day and there are also student discounts for serial tickets. As you can see the price isn’t bad at all! Towels and seat covers can be rented for a couple of euros as well.

For a small amount of money I will guarantee that you will enjoy a magnificent experience in the public sauna of Rajaportti. You will get to meet many kinds of people who are openly socializing in the warmth. In the midst of the steam and these strangers you might actually start to feel confusingly comfy. I highly recommend to visit the place any time of the year.

http://www.rajaportinsauna.fi/index.en.php

 

Explore Finland – go jogging!

by Jonna Valosalmi, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Finnish forest panorama in late autumn from a hillside

Jogging is a great way to get to know the surroundings; as a new inhabitant of Tampere I found getting lost on a weekly basis quite teaching. Now, after half a year, I can go to the grocery store without having to draw a map and I’m quite able to navigate myself home from anywhere around the city.

I find jogging the easiest way to exercise because you can go out anytime and anywhere. There’s no need for fancy equipment since all you need is a pair of sneakers and you’re ready to go. The best part of it is spending time in the nature at different times of the day and seeing the scenery change throughout the year. Just now the time that Sun shines on the Northern hemisphere is getting shorter day by day and the nature is starting to prepare for winter.

A path in a Finnish ridge forest in autumn timeWhether you work out passionately all year round or have found yourself curled up on the couch during the dark winter nights, it is a great time to start enjoying the season of changing colors by jogging. It’s definitely relaxing to take a break from one’s own thoughts and only concentrate on the body and the surroundings. So why spend any more time inside when you have the perfect excuse to enjoy the autumn (and avoid homework)!

 

The pictures were taken at a footpath in Eastern Finland in autumn 2013.