A few months ago I had a chance to visit a cozy and original site called Herrankukkaro (“Mama’s Pocket”) built upon an old fishing village. It was located in the Turku archipelago in Southwest Finland and used mainly for business meetings and team building.
Herrankukkaro has put effort to their own sauna spa area because they want to cultivate the Finnish cultural sauna heritage. The spa has four different smoke saunas, including the world’s largest smoke sauna for up to 124 people!
The place is probably at its best in the summer time, but I think it had a special, almost magical atmosphere in the winter. During my stay the weather got cold extremely fast and I saw something impressive. I witnessed the sea freeze. Never seen that before!
Read more: Herrankukkaro
Pictures and text: Laura
Few times a year my two good old friends and I gather together to exchange news. Our program is always the same. First we meet each other in the Ateljee Bar Torni. This bar was founded in 1951 and it has an amazing view over Helsinki.
From the Ateljee Bar we move on to the Yrjönkatu Swimming hall. In my opinion it has the best saunas in Helsinki. There is an electric sauna, a steam sauna and a big wood-heated sauna (my favorite!). Usually we rent a small locker room to chat in peace.
Yrjönkatu Swimming hall has kept its original architectural spirit and it has served people of Helsinki since 1928. There are separate shifts for women and men. And don’t be surprised, customers may swim with or without a bathing suit.
After two hours of bathing we are ready for a dinner. Our next classic destination is the Cultural Restaurant Kosmos, a traditional meeting place for Finnish artists and journalists. In Kosmos time has stopped and you can still feel the original 1920’s atmosphere: white tablecloths, chandeliers and palm trees.
And you know, after sharing time with my beloved friends, enjoying a good sauna and tasty food, the world always looks brighter…
Ateljee Bar Torni
Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall
Have you ever tried mushroom hunting? I love to walk in the forest, and usually I only admire beautiful nature and its silence.
A little while ago I had a chance to participate in a mushroom hunting lesson. We learned what mushrooms are edible and how to identify them.
Cold nights had done damage to many mushrooms, but luckily we found some beauties. Yellow chanterelles were my favorites.
Afterwards we were able to visit a traditional lake sauna. It was a fun and relaxing day!
This summer I was lucky to return to the US. I spent two wonderful vacation weeks there: I visited my old home town in CT, saw friends and also enjoyed the heat of Manhattan. I had a great time and I hope I’m able to go back soon.
I love travelling, but there is just one small thing I don’t fancy and that is jet lag. Fortunately I’m not so sensitive to time difference as one of my friends. She needs sleeping pills every time she travels over the seas. I try to give my jet lag a soft death.
I have noticed that a sauna is the most effective tool to get sleep and jump back in the right time zone. Also this time it worked. I took a long bath in our home sauna before I went to bed. The heat of sauna made my body relaxed and some how it tricked my mind to the sleeping mode. Another great reason to have a home sauna!
Author and photo: Laura
Last summer I had my first smoke sauna experience and I will never forget it. My friend invited me to her summer place with a beautiful dark smoke sauna. She had heated the sauna for several hours, almost the whole day, to get it ready for us. We arrived just in time to see how big logs you use for heating and how to get the smoke out of the sauna. Because that’s what you do before going in.
Inside the smoke sauna it is very dark and cozy, because you don’t have any big windows, only a very small window to get some light in. You can sense the existence of our ancestors and their life style: pure, simple and rough.
What I learnt is, never volunteer to be the first one to go to a smoke sauna. It is so hot. Even though the ladies went second, I was not able to sit on the sauna bench without a several times folded towel under my butt, and I had to dip in to the river every now and then to cool my skin.
But, after a while the heat became so smooth and gentle, and we spent several hours enjoying this very special way of sauna bathing.
Have a wonderful midsummer.
Laura & Kati
photo: Teija Soini, www.fotosoini.com