“August is just a perfect travelling month in Finland by bike. Finnish nature is at it´s most bountiful in august when the crop is been gathered from the fields, apples are rype and ready and you can really sence the aroma of sweatness while passing farms, apple gardens and wild meadows.”
Day 1. Distance 80 km
Hämeenlinna – Lepaa – Hattula – Iittala – Sääksmäki
I woke up early to catch a train from Tampere to Hämeenlinna. After arriving to the train station with my gear (which is not very much) I lifted the bike inside the train. There are hooks where you can hang your bicycle and attach it so that it doesn´t move around. It´s also good to book the bicycle place before hand because those are limited number.
It took only one hour to travel to Hämeenlinna so soon I was on my bike and ready to pedal . My first pinpoint was Häme Castle which is located almost in the center of Hämeenlinna city.
The morning was great, sunny and not too hot. Cycle path ran right by the shore and I saw fishermen sitting with their rods and high hopes, boat repearers and just people biking or walking by the castle. There were massive willows hanging their long branches over the waterline. Vanajavesi lake was so bright that my eyes were dazzled.
I crossed an old wooden rail bridge and got to Aulanko. Soon the road took me away from the shore while I started wy way towards Lepaa.
I knew that my intrest to visit Lepaa made 15 km to and fro extra loop, but I found Lepaa Manor and area way too interesting to visit, so I didn´t mind about these additional kilometers. Especially when wheater was this good!
Hint: Hopealinjat boats travel from Hämeenlinna city to Lepaa Manor, so you can also hop in with your bike and arrive by the water!
Since I arrived to Lepaa first I visited Lepaa Pottery Shop. I saw artisans creating clay ficures and pots, all of them were sold there in their shop.
Next to the pottery shop was Lepaa Garden and Wine Store, which was full of their own wines, ciders, beers, etc. and of course different kinds of flowers and garden products. From here I cycled little futher and finally found the Lepaa Manor, in the middle of hundrets of apple trees. I had a buffee lunch and enjoyed my coffee and desert at the manor´s terrace.
I felt almost sad to leave but there was so many places waiting me today so I steared my bike back on the road.
Now I was coming back excatly the same way (but there was no other option) towards Hattula and stoped at famous Mierola Bridge Cafe. From here I made a stop by Hattula´s Holy Cross Church which was just a few kilometers away. After visiting the church I steared my wheels to west – my next target was going to be really interresting: Parola Armour Museum. I had never been inside a tank so this was my first time. Actually you could visit quite many tanks there but most of them where just eye candy. Two big halls full of Finnish armour history and there was also outside exhibitions. Place also had a cafeteria and a museum store.
Time was now 16 o´clock when I left the museum and headed to Iittala Glass Museum. I stoped various times just photographing and enjoying beautiful countryside sceneries. Wind was strong and even my bike fell down when I left it by the sandy road while taking photos. My seat and rack got a bit twisted and it took me some time to fix everything back in the right angle.
When I finally arrived to Iittala Glass Museum I was very hungry, but the Museum restaurant didin´t serve meals anymore (they only had lunch) so I went to a store and had a picnic. After that I was ready to visit all the places.. Actually this area was called a Class Capital because there was so much more than just the Iittala Glass Factory. There you can actually follow the production of all kinds of glass artefacts, as talented glassblowers create birds, bowls and many other famous Iittala brands. But this scene was so hot to watch! I coudn´t understand how the workers could manage in such temperatures… There are also several shops and a chocolate factory Kultasuklaa too. Interesting place overall.
Next my way was towards east and to Valkeakoski, but before that I wanted to bike through Päivölä Collage because I had heard that you can also stay over night there.. and I was curious. Also I had planned this pit stop for me just in case if the night was falling on me and I wouldn´t had reached far enough. The Collage loceted at the top of a steep hill. Rolling down from there was great fun!
Now I passed Visavuori Museum which I visited during my last trip (See Wanderer 1 -blog) and amazing Sääksmäki Bridge and Sääksmäki Stone Church (these are also mentioned in that same blog). Just a few roads more and I was at my friends home where I had had an invitation to stay over night. Otherwise I could have cycled few kilometers more and stayed in a cottage at Apianlahti Camping.
Day 2. Distance 40 km
Sääksmäki – Valkeakoski – Pälkäne
After the breakfast I thanked my host and hoped on my bike. Valkeakoski was calling!
Myllysaari Museum was first on the list where the permanent exhibition tells about a journey of Valkeakoski and Sääksmäki from the Iron Age through to today. At the third floor there´s also Finnish football museum.
I have always found Valkeakoski very interesting for a bike traveller since it offers so many intriguining and facinating visiting targets: All the historic places in Sääksmäki, vivid nature and a wide range of servises at the center of Valkeakoski – lots of places to eat and accomondation options. I passed the beautiful pedestrians bridge at the city now towards Pälkäne village and there Laitikkala.
This quiet tarmac road was so easy to bike until it turned in the dicertion of Laitikka and I was on a tiny forest road. High spruces and silent surraunding escorted me to Laitikka and there Rönnvik Winery.
You want make sure that winery is open and check the opening times from their website. I had booked this visit earlier so there was the owner Eila recieving me. I found Winery´s ”Four wine tasting set” very intersting and of course the beer and wine store. Eila also told that you can arrive to Laitikkala by boat from Valkeakoki Visavuori by m/s Suvi-Ellen boat (sure you wanna check do they transport bicycles as well). This whole place was like being inside a fairy tale!
I passed Heikkilä Cheece Farm on my way up north towards Pälkäne village and there I filled my stomach with pizza at Pizzeria Saranda. Bought some food from a local market for my breakfats and head to Paija´s Potato Farm where I had booked a cottage for the night. Some sauna, swim and bed.
Day 3. Distance 60km
Pälkäne – Kangasala – Tampere
After the breakfast (which I had bought yesterday) was a time to pack up and head towards Kangasala and Tampere.
Fisrt I stopped at Vehoniemi Automobile Museum and had a really good salmon sandwich and a tour in the museum. At this time rain had catched me and I had to pull my rain gear on. From this moment forward rain just got heavier all the time and it felt no sence to stop at the pin points I had planned earlier. So I just kept going. Otherwise I would have also visited Keisarinharju Observation Tower.
Biking trhough Tiihala road I steared to Kangasala city center, passed it while rain forcing me to bike even faster… So I found myself after few hours at Tampere, my home city. I had dreamed of havingf sauna at Finland´s oldes bublic sauna Rajaportti, put since all my glothes were leaking wet I just run straight to home and took a warm shower. A different kind of end, but a very satisfying trip!