07 Sep The Most Beautiful Sauna in the World
You didn’t think I would spend the whole summer in Finland and not blog about saunas? 😀
As you probably know, even today, sauna is almost like a sacred place for Finns. You don’t talk loud in a sauna and there is a sense of respect for the place.
Sauna and summer go together, and the best thing is to have a sauna by the water, be it a lake, a river or the sea. And let’s be clear, it is always a sauna heated by wood, not electricity! Electric saunas are for city life, not for summer cottages.
So you warm up in the sauna, have a swim, and repeat. And in summers like the one we have just had (i.e. cool), the natural waterways are very cold, so you really need the sauna to warm you up after swimming!
In their cottage, my aunts have the most beautiful sauna I have ever seen. It’s an old sauna by a river and there is a very special feel to it. It used to be a smoke sauna (special type of sauna without a chimney in which smoke is allowed to fill the room before being released) and there is still a gentle, lovely smell of smoke in there. The dark walls make the place feel like a sanctuary.
You climb up the stairs and start throwing water onto the hot stove.
There are special textiles you can use in the sauna, even cushions, so that you can lie down and really relax! Those shown here are from a Finnish design company called Kuovi and the grey pattern goes really well with this dark sauna.
People used to make “vihtas” to take into the sauna (a kind of whip made of birch twigs), but unfortunately that skill seems to be disappearing. To get the same lovely smell to the sauna you can still bring in a branch of birch, wet it and gently heat it up on the stove. Just enough to get the smell out of it, but not to burn it.
Apart from family and friends, saunas are what I miss the most from Finland. There are some saunas in the health-clubs in the UK, but a) they are usually too cold (and you are not allowed to throw any water on the stove to make them warmer) and b) for some crazy health & safety reason, you are not allowed to take any children under 16 to them so I can’t go with my daughter. My dream is, of course, to have our own sauna in England.
One day 😀