• Sauna

    Tiina Kivelä

    Finnish sauna. Almost everyone in this country has one and even though the nuances are varied, the basic concept could almost be found in our constitution.  Tiina Kivelä

    It’s a funny concept — you warm it hot (80°C is about right), get naked, go in, sit (or lay) and sweat there for some time (15mins is about right), silent. And throw some water to the stones constantly. Then you scrub your skin with something, or beat yourself with a birch whisk (don’t ask), and sit silent for some more minutes. Further on, you go out, jump into an ice cold water or if the season is right, snow, and curl there for some seconds, get back in, sweat some more, and shower.

    Then you take your bathrobe and an ice cold beer, go out to cool down for few minutes and take another set of silent moments. Finally, you come to the conclusion that life isn’t so bad after all. With perfect skin.

    That’s Finnish sauna, my favorite, almost daily, wellness ritual. And a very good excuse to close off rest of the world for a moment.

    Tiina Kivelä

    For Finnish sauna, you don’t have to stay in or come to Finland though. When traveling, it’s always interesting, and rewarding, to find sauna, especially if it’s labeled “Finnish”, and test enjoy it. To see what the prefix Finnish means with each case; if it’s hot, humid and minimalistic as the best ones, or if it’s just good enough. And then I just sit there quiet for a while, letting the body and mind relax.

    I’ll add few good sauna finds below, around Europe. And if you know a nice one, which you think I should definitely try, please tell me or invite me over. If it’s close snowy mountains, or in the middle of busy city, the better.

    Recently, I’ve even started to browse and dream of spa holidays or at least travels including as much spa’s and sauna’s as possible.  Steam sauna’s and hammams, Korean saunas and so on. Traveling with a tight budget, as I normally do, creates stress for which spas and saunas offer nice remedy. Almost as good as a long sleep in comfy king size hotel bed.

    In Finland, finding sauna for the everyday stress relief is pretty easy, and one of the best perks of Finland is definitely the saunas even in the smallest urban flats. In few weeks, when finally moving to a new flat after months of homelessness, I’ll even get a tiny home sauna myself. And for that personal “spa”, and since my skin is screaming “woman why did you bring me back to this hell called dry Finnish winter air!”, and hair is screaming “come on woman, you can’t run with me from the -20°C directly to the +80°C sauna without consequences“, I’m also updating my wellness self-help kit, starting with Aésop in pictures (they came wrapped in that cute paper, ordered from their own webshop). It’s high-end, a bit expensive, and not as eco as I’d really like, but oh boy it will look nice in my shelves, next to sauna.

    And hopefully they make my skin scream less.


    Spa’s with sauna(s):

    Bödelibad, Interlaken, Switzerland

    Seebad Enge, Zürich, Switzerland

    Finnish Rooftop Sauna, London, Great Britain

    Hotel saunas:

    Züri by Fassbind, Zürich, Switzerland

    Arctic Light Hotel, Rovaniemi, Finland





  • BLOG
  • 17 Mai

    Tiina Kivelä

    Hipp hipp hurra ! Gratulerer med dagen ! It’s the 17th of May, also known as the Norwegian National Day.

    On May 17 in 1814 the constitution of Norway was signed in Eidsvoll. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent kingdom and the election of Crown Prince Christian Frederik as the King of independent Norway, following Denmark-Norway’s defeat in the Napoleonic Wars.

    On a day like this I’d like to express en stor takk till Norge; to thank you, Norway, for all the great things you’re given me. For the confidence (something to do with the Viking attitude I think), for home, for great love (little did I know, when taking that picture above, of what a meaning those hoods would play in my life later on), for the life lessons (nothing worth having comes easy), for the fish and the fjells and the sea etc. And all the experiences and great people I wouldn’t have met without you. You’re expensive, but definitely worth it. I must have been Norwegian in my previous life (well, our whole outdoors and nordic skiing crazy family could be).

    Staying true to the theme of this spring, my initial plan to spend 17. Mai in Norway didn’t work out in the end (so my only 17th of May experience this far is the one 4 years ago in Trondheim – it was raining cats and dogs, I had high fever and the next morning I left Trondheim and haven’t been back since; personally not very cheerful one, but still one of the best happenings I’ve ever experienced). Nevertheless, thinking fondly of Norway and celebrating the day some way or other – maybe make a kveldstur and enjoy akvavit.

    And that nostalgia trip to Trondheim is still coming; just postponed it a bit. It didn’t happen now but it will happen, sooner or later, after which I’ll share with you my favorites of that city. So stay tuned, take care and remember to celebrate, whatever the reason! And go to Norway. Always go.

    There’s just something about Norway.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Quote: Hurtigruten