Day Twelve in Finland: The City and the Weather

12 Sep

Today I experienced my first pulla. It was delicious and a great reward for cycling back from town in the pouring rain. We found a lovely little shop at the back of the market hall in town that sold them. From outside the building doesn’t look anything particularly special, but inside it’s warm and welcoming. There are cosy tables for coffee as you walk through the door, followed by stall after stall of wonderful looking food. So much meat and cheese and fish, there was even a tank with what looked like very small lobsters swimming around at the bottom. Next to this was a shop/stall with bread, buns and cake. The pulla are huge (the rumours are true!) and we’d hoped to sit at the water’s edge to eat them, with the smell and noise of the market behind us and the peace of the open water in front.

It was not to be; it had started raining whilst we were inside and instead we were forced to make a hasty retreat back home.

We had had a chance to visit the city again though, and gotten a little lost along the way – largely due to my incompetence with map reading and orientation. My first impression of the city had been one of surprise and awe. It’s very beautiful (to my mind anyway), with very unusual looking buildings and very wide, uncrowded pavements. I expected, perhaps foolishly, a busy, crowded city with skyscrapers and tons of traffic. It’s hardly busy at all and there is traffic, but nothing like a city like London’s, for instance.

The city hall is really impressive (and really clean! It’s been kept very well), fronted by some lovely flowers and close to the cathedral, another incredible, awe inspiring building. At the back of the city hall is a row of figure, each of which represents those who have contributed to the creation of Oulu city.

We also located the Tourist Information, a giant building just near the city hall (you can see the city hall from inside it) and plundered it’s shelves of information. There’s a great selection of leaflets in English, Finnish and a variety of other languages and the staff are very friendly. They also speak very good English and I even felt brave enough to ask for a few directions.

A note on the weather here at the moment; when I asked my kummi what to bring with me she said:

‘I think the weather here in September is not very different from UK.
>> You’ll need some jeans, long sleeved shirts or sweaters and a light
>> jacket. It’ll rain some days so you should bring your umbrella! ;)’

That’s not entirely true.

I think it’s a little colder than Britain at this time of year, some mornings it has felt like a British November or December and my hands and feet have suffered. I also have very few clothes with me, thinking that just a few jumpers would suffice. I would recommend a mix of jumpers and long-sleeved shirts, to layer one under the other. Whilst the main halls of the university are as warm as anything, the classes can be quiet cold, especially when you’re sat down for three hours straight.

It’s much better to have a bike here in Oulu (I resisted for about a week and got so frustrated with getting everywhere slowly that I’ve borrowed one until I can find something better), but with a bike comes the need for something waterproof. Unless you want to try cycling with an umbrella. My coat is still wet from the ride back and I need it to be dry for tomorrow, otherwise I’ll be cold. Some super thick socks wouldn’t go amiss either, as well as some padded, sturdy gloves (not the thin, stretchy ones in the UK which gain holes in the fingers after a certain length of time, they’re next to useless here).

A few more pictures of the city (and the market square policeman) before I head off to try my first Finnish sauna!

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2 Responses to “Day Twelve in Finland: The City and the Weather”

  1. silentmercenary September 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Finland look’s like a wonderful place, great post! =)

    • saramay91 September 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

      Thank you, it is! I hope to convince more people of this as the year goes on =)

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