The Blue Jackets head to Tampere, Finland for back-to-back games against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 4-5. The games promise to be action-packed and exciting, but what else is there to do for the Blue Jackets players, staff, and fans? Of course, Jarmo Kekalainen and Patrik Laine will undoubtedly spend most of their off time visiting with family, but for those who are not from Tampere, what might they occupy their time doing?
According to several different vacation planning sites, the top two attractions in Tampere are the Museum Vapriikki and the Pyynikki Observation tower.
- Museum Vapriikki
This museum is Tampere's own miniature version of the Smithsonian as it is actually several museums all rolled into one. They have the museums of Media, Natural History, the Mineral Museum, and the Postal Museum, among others. However, unlike the Smithsonian, which is more spread out, Vapriikki is all housed in one rather large 14,000-square-meter complex.
- Pyynikki Observation Tower
The tower, along with a large section of the city, sits on the world's largest esker (a gravel ridge formed by glacial activity). This tower was built in 1929 to replace the original that was built in the late 1800s. The original had suffered irreparable damage during World War I. You can take an elevator to the top or huff it on the stairs, and if you do take the stairs, there are observation portals all the way up. The views from this tower are absolutely incredible.
If you are one who happens to be keen on experiencing the best views possible, there is also another observation tower called the Nasinneula Tower.
- Pyynikki Cafe
Munkki is the dish to try at the Pyynnikki cafe. Munkki is a scrumptious Finnish doughnut coated in cinnamon sugar, and this cafe serves one of the best versions of them. They serve many tasty treats, but if you make the trek all the way to Finland, you must try Munkki.
- Religious Attractions
If you are one to visit religious sites, Tampere has a couple impressive ones for you. The Kaleva Church and Tampere Cathedral are some of the biggest draws when in comes to religious attractions in this city.
Kaleva Church was designed by a couple famous architects in the mid 60's, and it became a protected landmark ten years ago. This church has a unique look that reminds one of a modern office building from one side and a grain silo form the other. All of the interior furnishing, including the organ, were designed by the architects as well.
The Tampere Cathedral was built in the early 1900s and the creation of its many fresco paintings was done by the artist Hugo Simberg. His work on this Cathedral was quite controversial at the time as he painted works such as the "Garden of Death" with three sinister figures that look much like the grim reaper tending to a garden.
- The Finnish Hockey Hall Of Fame
Just like the name sounds, this museum celebrates the sport of hockey and the most famous Finnish contributions to the sport.
One odd fact about hockey in Finland is the sport wasn't introduced in that country until the 1920s and it didn't become a spectator sport until the '65. Though, on the world stage, the last 50 years have been rather kind to Finland. They have won World Championships and several Olympic medals. If you are a longtime fan of the NHL, you might recognize a few of the players enshrined in this hall of fame.