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
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
I visited a home and garden fair in Lausanne, Switzerland (www.habitat-jardin.ch) in the beginning of March, and saw many interesting things there. But as always as a Finn, saunas catch my attention.
I found a very unique sauna there; one wall at the end of a barrel sauna was a half a sphere. The view was a panoramic one that brings you so close to nature and lets you enjoy it. How easy is this? Just pick the place for your sauna, this company comes and puts it together for you on site and you can start enjoying! This sauna was made out of Canadian red cedar. All the details were nicely finished and especially the cedar smell was really vibrant.
I was happy to see Helo and Harvia sauna stoves at the fair, but those were the only Finnish sauna items that I was able to find. While living in Geneva I have met many people, not only Finnish, who have saunas in their homes or chalets. I think people have found this Finnish way relaxing here too. There is clearly a real demand for saunas in central Europe. The wooden outdoor tubs seem to be very popular here as well. I couldn’t help thinking that Finnish sauna manufacturers and other sauna products should be more available and present here. We have a lot to give and share about our sauna traditions.
Author and photos: Anne