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Häme lake trip

Welcome to explore the lakes between Tampere and Hämeenlinna with Sail in Finland on this Häme lake trip!

A lake trip is like a road trip, but with a boat, on a lake. And just as a road trip, a lake trip is a journey into one’s own person just as much as a trip somewhere. And like road trips, the destination is not as important as the journey itself.

 

 

The Häme lake trip timelapse – Nokia to Hämeenlinna

If you are in a hurry, experience 5 days of lake tripping in just under 3 minutes with the video below!

Day 1 – Nokia to Lempäälä – day of Finnish icons

Day of the four Finnish #icon’s:

  1. Buster, the archetype of Finnish boats; for cottage use, fishing, you name it. Made of sturdy aluminum it is the epitome of functionality: durable, needing only little maintenance, a functional, no-nonsense type of a boat and immensely popular in Finland.
  2. Nokia, the industrial giant that has gone from paper, pulp and rubber to mobile phone fame to spectacular failure to back in the game as a wireless network vendor. The birthplace of Nokia is considered to be the city of Nokia that also has given the company it’s name. This is not totally correct, as the first few years of Nokia’s (so far) 150 year saga actually took place in Tampere, a few kilometers away from Nokia.
  3. Lake scenery. Finland is called the country of the thousand lakes but that is actually a gross understatement. There are about 180’000 lakes in Finland and we managed to visit just a few of them. I guess many people think of lakes as kind of round ponds but nothing could be further from the truth with Finnish lakes. Winding with narrow passages, open firths and with thousand of islands in the lakes, there is nothing quite like the Finnish lakeland!
  4. The sauna. The Finnish sauna is an integral part of Finnish culture and never more so than during the summer. So ofcourse we must try a sauna as well and – in the spirit of the laketrip – we did so on the water!

Our trip started with a nostalgic visit to an island that has quite some relevance to both lake trip crew members, the island which has been credited as the birthplace of Nokia. And it is true in the sense that while the first Nokia paper and pulp mill operated on this island, the name Nokia was first taken into use as a name for the company.

Our destination day 1 was the city of Lempäälä, a small village grown into a suburban extension of it’s neighboring Tampere. After a day at sea, there is one thing in particular a typical Finnish boater looks for and that is a sauna. So in Lempäälä we got the chance to ride a sauna out on the lake. The floating sauna of the Lempäälän Koskikellujat (“Lempäälä rapidfloaters” in English) was just what the doctor ordered, as you can see from the video below!

 

And here we end our day with a floating sauna.

We spent our first night at the very rustic Lempäälä Health Spa. The Spa, founded in 1926, still practices the traditional Uoti balneotherapy which is based on water treatments with changing temperatures. After a good nights sleep, we got to try the treatment in the morning of the second day and really enjoyed the calm and relaxing effect of the treatment.

 

Our second day started off very nicely, we got to spend a couple of hours in the water treatment at the Lempäälä Healt Spa ( Lempäälän Luontaiskylpylä).

Posted by Sail in Finland on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 2 – Lempäälä to Hauho – Finnish living

Leaving Lempäälä, our first task was to pass the first set of locks on our route. The locks are actually very easy to navigate, you pull a cord above or below the locks and then an automatic procedure starts. You only need to follow the traffic lights (hint – green means Go, red means Wait) and a little later you will be hoisted up or lowered down to the next lake.

Here is a short illustrated guide to using the self-service locks.

The lakes in the Häme region are on different levels and therefore connected with locks. On day 2 we passed two locks …

Posted by Sail in Finland on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Our next stop was the city of Valkeakoski were we got to pass the second set of locks. By now we were already seasoned lock navigators.

Valkeakoski is a typical Finnish industrial town. As many other like it, it has grown around rapids (valkeakoski = white rapids) that provided the hydroelectric power needed for the paper and pulp industry that formed the backbone of the city in it’s economic heydays. Now Valkeakoski, like many other similar cities, have suffered with the economic hardships of heavy industries in Finland. This on the other hand has lead to a diversification of the business and Valkeakoski is today a lot more than just an industrial town. And for us Valkeakoski was the perfect place to stop to fill up and have a nice lunch.

The theme for day 2 was “Finnish living”. We started to explore traditional Finnish living by visiting Hauho, a former independent municipality and now part of Hämeenlinna. Hauho is a lovely little Finnish village. With its old wooden houses, the typical stone church and a modern village center built around a few shops and a supermarket, Hauho could be the prototype for much of the rural development in Finland over the last 50 or so years. Except that Hauho comes with a lake view like few other villages.

Staying on the theme of “Finnish life”, summer cottages are very much part of Finnish life in the summer. There are over half a million summer cottages in Finland (yes! for a population of little more than 5 million) and most of them are located on or close to the shore of a lake or the sea. Nothing could therefore be more Finnish than to staying over night at a (summer) cottage by a lake,  which is precisely what we did in Hauho. We stayed at the very nice Leppäniemi cottages by the lake Iso-Roine.

 

Day 3 – Hauho to Voipaala – Sports

After a very nice evening spent with the host and owner of the Leppäniemi cottages, we woke up fresh and ready to tackle the day 3, our day of (spectator) sports. First motor sports (they did not coin the term “Flying Finn” for nothing) at the Mobilia car and road museum and it Rally Hall of Fame and rallycar exhibition. First a small introduction to the museum by Petra Kotro, amanuensis at the museum.

The museum is located close to the southern-most part of the Neste Oil Rally, formerly known under the much more descriptive name of The Rally of the Thousand Lakes. So no wonder the museum has a small marina and is a great boating destination!

Later in the evening we got watch the number one team sport in the area, football! Yes, football (icehockey was out-of-season). There are two things Valkeakoski is known for in Finland, one is paper and pulp and the other thing is football and the team Haka. Haka has for decades been one of the top football teams in Finland, despite the fact that Valkeakoski has just a little over 20’000 inhabitants!

Our accomodation for the night was at Voipaala, the hostel of the Voipaala Art Center. Very rustic on the outside, really modern on the inside. Voipaala is a few kilometers away from the Sääksmäki bridge where we left the boat. Taxi to and from Voipaala costs a little over 10€.

 

Hostel-type accomodation for about 20 persons are found on the grounds. Note: self-catering!

Posted by Sail in Finland on Friday, June 12, 2015


 

Day 4 – Voipaala to Lepaa – art and history

Day 4 was going ot be full of all kind of activities so we woke up early and started the day with a historical trek up to the top of the of the Rapola ridge. At the top of the ridge you not only have a great view of the surrounding lakes, you can also visit the ruins of an old Viking time fortification.

Next stop was back at the Voipaala Art Center. First let Anna Mäkinen shortly introduce the Voipaala Art Center.

After that we can take a stroll through the galleries on two floors to enjoy the exhibition of Finnish aquarelle painters.

The art experience did not end at Voipaala, just across the Sääksmäki bridge you can find the Visavuori museum. Visavuori was the home of the very famous Finnish scultor Emil Wikström. The home and studio have been preserved the way they were at the beginnign of the 20th century when Wikströn lived and worked here. For boating visitors, the museum comes with its own harbor and you can also take a Hopealinja cruise to Wisavuori from either Tampere of Hämeenlinna.

Final destination of the day was the Lepaa manor, home of the HAMK University of Applies science, the Lepaa winery and Lepaa golf. And ofcourse with its own small harbor!

Did you know that there is Finnish wine? Nor made from grapes as they do not grow in Finland, but from berries. And at Lepaa the Finnish winemakers are educated in the fine art of making wine and sparkling wine using the champagne method.

 

Day 5 – Lepaa to Aulanko

After a night spent at the Lepaa hostel (housed in the student appartments on campus, a short walk from the shore and the winery), I had some time to explore Lepaa a bit more. Turned outLepaa also has a number of other attractions that normally do not get that much attention. One that I particularly liked was the small home gardening museum on the second floor of the winery, a small gem of a museum (let’s hope they get English texts by next summer). Next to the winery there was also an unusual pottery shop. If you think all the pottery shops carry the same items, then this one is for you. What about a statue of one of the former Finnish presidents as a souvenir?

After a lazy morning, next stop was a tour on one of the Hopealinja (Silverline) boats that cruise (almost) daily between Tampere and Hämeenlinna. The cruises make a longer stop at Visavuori (just enough time to see the museum, see above). Other stop (where you can get on or off) include Lempäälä locks, the Lepaa winery, the old bridge by Mierola (in Hattula) and the Aulanko Spa hotel. For route and schedule details see the Hopealinja web page. A great way to get to see the lakes if you are in a hurry!

The last night of the lake trip I spent in a small cabin at the Aulanko camping (note for 2017: the camping ground future is unclear, at this time it looks like the camping facilities will not be open in 2017). The campground is located in the Aulanko park, a few kilometers from the Hämeenlinna city center. For those of us who do not come with a camper or a tent, the camping ground offers surprisingly spacious cabins with own shower and kitchenette. And – as you by now might have guessed – the camping ground has its own little marina and a lovely seaside view.

The Aulanko park is part of the larger and rather unique Aulanko city natural reserve which is an interesting combination of built environment and Finnish forest landscapes. The view from the Aulanko observation tower (a nice hike from the Aulanko camping) is one of the Finnish national landscapes.

 

Day 6 – Aulanko to Hämeenlinna – event park at the end of the line

All good things must come to an end and so also the Häme lake trip. The program on the final day included just one stop, the inauguration party of the Kantola event park. Kantola is a large open space just outside the Hämeenlinna city center. Anyone that wants to stage an open-air event, be it small large or huge (the AC/DC concert in the park in the summer of 2015 drew more than 50’000 visitors), you can rent the park for your event.

To reach Kantola by boat is very easy, just next to the park you can find the nicest marina in Hämeenlinna, the marina of the Pumppuhuone restaurant next to the Sotkanranta harbor. The marina has nice new jetties and the restaurant has been updated with an outdoor terrace and other facilities suited for those nice sunny days in the harbor!

 

The furthers point of the Häme #laketrip was the Sotkanranta marina next to the Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto – Kantola Event…

Posted by Sail in Finland on Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hämeenlinna marked the end of the lake trip, thanks to each and everyone who helped make the trip happen!


You can find all the places mentioned in this article on this map.

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