As our colleagues from Helsinki were coming over for a site visit last week, we decided to surprise them and show them around in an Amazing Race type friendly competition. (The real Amazing Race programme has actually visited Tampere in 2006, and there are several companies that offer Amazing Race –type programmes in our city). Unlike the original programme, we decided to give our guests questions instead of tasks. After all – they were here to learn about the city.
Despite the educational purpose of the visit, we still were able to have some fun. We wanted not only to show our guests our new hotels and restaurants they had requested to see, but also to get a feel of the real Tampere. Our theme was towers and stairs. And so the race began.
Stairs and Towers
After picking our guests up at the railway station, we took them straight away to Pispala, a must for all tourist bus tours. Pispala is a housing area built at the beginning of the 20th century, mainly by poor factory workers. Its uniqueness comes from the multitude of different houses built on a very steep ridge. And its stairs. (Being first an area for poor factory workers, Pispala is today a very sought after place to live, thanks to the wonderful views onto both our lakes, as well as the proximity to the city).
Next was a tower. The Pyynikki Observation Tower, famous for its delicious doughnuts (that Ella wrote about). Naturally we could not go there without trying some. But at the same time we got a good overview of the city, its short distances and the vast amounts of nature and water surrounding it.
A hotel’s a must
After Pyynikki, we were off to Scandic Tampere Station – a modern Scandinavian hotel next to the railway station (as can be guessed from the name). With its 200 rooms Scandic Tampere Station was, together with Hotel Cumulus Rautatienkatu, a real lifesaver for congresses when they opened in 2012. Scandic Tampere Station has been voted Tampere’s top hotel on Tripadvisor, and is only 500 meters from Concert and Congress Centre Tampere Hall.
The tragic but beautiful Näsilinna
From a modern new building we moved on to an old one: the newly renovated, the one and only Näsilinna – a restaurant, café, dinner venue and museum. Built by patron Wilhelm von Nottbeck’s son Peter von Nottbeck in 1898, the building has had a tragic history: it was meant to be the home of the von Nottbeck family, but sadly both parents died within a year, and the four orphan children lived in the house with their nannies for some years before moving abroad. The building later served as a museum, until it closed in 1998. Ever since then the people of Tampere have been waiting for it to re-open. They had to wait for almost 20 years, but I can say it was all worth it! Näsilinna is b e a u t i f u l.
To the top!
And then it was back to the modern stuff again. Or at least half modern, half old. We visited Tampere’s newest hotel, already a legend of a building: Solo Sokos Hotel Torni Tampere. Built next to and integrated with an old roundhouse, the new hotel stands at a height of 88 meters and houses the city’s coolest skybar – a must for every visitor. If not for the drinks, at least for the views.
So much to see – so little time!
It took us a good five hours to get through the race, and still there was so much we didn’t have time to see. As we accompanied our guests back to the railway station, we all agreed that there are just so many nice things in Tampere, you need several days to see them all. I think we’ll have to do another race and see the places we missed this time. I’ll be back with a new report of that later.