We happened to stumble upon Hämeenlinna few weeks ago. I had not visited Hämeenlinna for ten years, since my teenage years. I did not remember much of the city. All I remembered was that my parents had met at Aulanko, so we decided to make an almost-pilgrimage to the sights of the area.
Unfortunately Finland and November meant that it was snowing, or in our case it was sleeting. We were not made from sugar so we took umbrellas and headed to Aulanko. After travelling through the sleet we grabbed the umbrellas and headed towards the viewtower. I was luckily travelling with locals who could tell me about the history of the area. About how it used to be owned by a colonel who created the area into its current glory for a woman he was in love with. In the end the woman did not come to live in Finland, in Hämeenlinna, in Aulanko, but in the end we all get to now enjoy the fact, that men can go to extreme lengths for love.
Aulanko provided beautiful views
The travel to the top was slippery. This is why we had to be careful when walking. At the top we finally made it to the viewpoint from which we saw a beautiful silent scenery. I did not have my camera with me but my phone surprised me positively and took almost DSLR worthy photos. The cold weather, falling snow, mist and silence made the scenery look almost poetic.
On the top of the hill there was a view tower which did not show much due to the thick mist. The steps to the tower are made from stone which gave a nice little added excitement for the walk as the steps were very slippery. Gladly there were only a few steps so the walk was not too bad. The more terrifying steps were next to the view point which led all the way down the side of the cliff. The icy, wet and slippery steps were quite tough to walk so if one was wearing bad shoes that walk down might not be worth the risk. At the bottom you can though admire a Bear statue and go behind it and giggle at the echo of the cliff.
Häme castle and Hämeenlinna
After we came down from the cliff and got to our car we headed towards Häme Castle. Hämeenlinna as a place has gained its name from the castle which in Finnish is Hämeen linna (linna: castle). For me this was a place that I wanted to see, as I rarely take any interest in the history of my own country. On a rainy day having a jacket really paid off as the castle was not always warm inside. The historic 12th century castle has stayed in excellent condition which makes it fun place to visit.
The tours are organised in Finnish almost hourly but if you wish to get an English tour you have to book it in advance. The price for the tour (in English) can be quite high, so you might want to gather a few friends to split the cost, as if there are only two of you the price can be a bit dear (70 e / guide). During the tour the guide tells you about the caslte and its diverse history, as throughout the centuries it has been a castle, a jail and an museum. After the guided tour we had time to visit the exhibition Pagans and Pious. Wood statues each stranger and more different than the other caused both confusion and wonder. Every once in a while I felt that this cannot be art when in the following second I was at awe about some art piece.
Our day ended to the Sokerileipuri Suominen cafeteria. In the cute and small cafe we ate some cinnamon buns and I had my first Christmas tart of the year. The coffee was really tasty and the service excellent. The server even took back the cappuchino she was bringing when she felt that the milk just was not right. In seconds she brought back the fluffiest cappuchino. Suominen was an excellent way to end a long snowy day.