Tag Archives: traditional sauna

Mushroom hunting!

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!

– Laura

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Extreme sauna experience – smoke sauna

Finnish Smoke Sauna

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

text: Kati

photo: Teija Soini, www.fotosoini.com


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Leave your worries in the wilderness

Kiilopää ski trails at Saariselkä

Last week I visited Saariselkä, one of the oldest and most known travel destinations in Finnish Lapland. I used to visit there every year when I was a kid, and that’s why it always has a special place in my heart.

The place has changed a lot since my childhood. It has become a big resort with all kinds of family activities. Despite all new attractions, Saariselkä has managed to keep its own restful atmosphere. It still has the best cross-country skiing conditions in Lapland.

I spent five days skiing, walking and enjoying surrounding nature and silence. After spending the whole day outdoors, I relaxed in a sauna we had in our cabin.

For the sauna lover Saariselkä is a great place to visit. Almost every cabin has its own sauna and there are public saunas and spas as well. The bravest ones can visit the famous smoke sauna situated in the Kiilopää Fell Centre.  After a sauna and ice-swimming you definitely are able to leave your rush and worries in the wilderness!

Information about Saariselkä: saariselka.figosaariselka.com

Author: Laura
Photos: Laura, Mauri, Antti-Jussi and Kiilopää Fell Centre


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Saunasaari, a paradise island

Ladies in a hot tub

This fall has been incredibly rainy in Finland. Seriously, it has rained almost every day!  On a day like this it’s comforting to browse old summer pictures and think back about sunny and warm days.

There is one summer memory which especially makes me smile. In August I had a change to visit Saunasaari (Sauna Island) in Helsinki with my old colleagues.

This small island has different kind of saunas and an amazing view to the coast of Helsinki. You can actually see the Helsinki Cathedral from the beach.

We spent one whole day there and relaxed in different kind of saunas: traditional Finnish saunas, smoke saunas and wood-heated hot tubs.

This sauna lover’s paradise has already existed for over 10 years and it’s a dream come true for its founder, sauna-master Rainer Hanhilahti.  He wanted to create an inspiring environment to calm down and to experience nature and traditional sauna culture.

Today Saunasaari is a unique and popular excursion place for companies and groups: Saunasaari

Sauna trip, Finnish flag

It takes 15 min by boat to get to Saunasaari


Saunasaari is a peaceful and green island

Sauna Island

Traditional Finnish sauna in Saunasaari

Sauna-master Rainer Hanhilahti

Sauna-master Rainer Hanhilahti

Coast of Helsinki

Amazing view of Helsinki coast


Everything is ready for sauna lovers

Author and photo: Laura

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Visiting Russian Banya

Russian sauna, Banya
We Finns are not the only ones who love sauna. Here in New York we have found many different kinds of sauna cultures from all over the world. One of the liveliest comes from Russia.

There are several popular Russian saunas, banyas, in Manhattan. We visited one of them, situated in the heart of  the hectic financial district. The Wall Street Bath & Spa offers different kinds of saunas, from steam to red-hot wood-heated saunas to relax. Their pride is an authentic Russian sauna room with a stove made with 16 tons of rock.

This Banya is not fancy and it seems to be a homey meeting place for Russian immigrants far away from home. There is friendly chatting going on in the spa restaurant as well as in the relaxing area next to a big swimming pool.  There is no rush and we could easily spend hours there.

Later we heard that 90 percent of Banya customers are other than Russians. In fact, many New York Finns are regular Russian sauna goers. It looks like that Banya offers us the most traditional sauna experience we can have in New York.

Russians baths in New York

Authors: Kati & Laura
Photo: The Wall Street Bath & Spa 

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