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
Fall is a perfect time for a weekend getaway. A few days in a different environment gives energy to get ready for winter. It is not necessary to travel far away to be rejuvenated, but there is a place I would love to visit. It’s a geothermal spa in Iceland called Blue Lagoon. My colleague Eva visited this place this year and she told me what a special place it was.
She and her husband stayed there one weekend bathing and relaxing. They enjoyed fresh drinks in the natural shaped outdoor pool and admired the beauty of stony lava fields. I asked her about saunas, but she said they didn’t even look for them because the water was so hot.
The warm waters are rich in minerals and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is said to help people suffering from skin problems. Eva told me that the spa has many kind of energizing treatments, but massage is the thing to try. It takes place in water!
Blue Lagoon Spa
Photo: Eva’s hubby
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