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Sauna and some sightseeing in our Capital

overcast 7 °C

To your convenience I have translated few words for you which I am going to use in this one.

Sauna = Is warm room where we finns go to relax either alone or in good company.

Kiuas = Heater in sauna. Warmed either by wood or electricity

Löyly = Direct translation of löyly is steam but in this context is not entirely correct. Much like sauna it is unique word to our language and it means the water you throw at kiuas, yes, the end result is steam but if you hear in sauna a sentence “Heitä lisää löylyä” (=Throw more löylys), it means exactly that. That you should throw more water in the kiuas.

This one night trip to our capital came out of necessity this time. It’s kind of funny, I haven’t been Helsinki in years, last time was to visit Linnanmäki when I was an kid, if you don’t count “went-thru’s” and this year this is already second time I visit.

Toni, my boyfriend had these chairs he had to take to auctionhouse and as we happen to be on our summer holiday from work we thought that we could stay the night and do some exploring.

In 2015 one of Finland’s most famous actors Jasper Pääkkönen get involved in project which resulted one of our many public saunas called Löyly.
We head there tonight. I haven’t been in the public sauna before this. Yes, I have been in sauna in swimming halls and spas but it isn’t the same than public sauna. I know that Finnish sauna culture might be little bit bizarre for foreigners but bare with us, we are normally shy and modest people but of our saunas we are proud!

And even if the experience is not the same than in own sauna, in Löyly the kiukaat were warmed with real wood and this is important in real sauna. You can get electric kiuas warm but it’s not the same than warming it by wood. The smell and the heat is far better with wood.
Hmm, I might have started to ramble a bit there..Back to the topic, Löyly. In their websites they recommend to reserve a shift because in the saunas fit only 40 people in total. But we felt bold and went in without reservation, and got lucky because we didn’t even need to wait to get in.

There were separate locker rooms and showers for men and women, saunas and lounge were common and you need to wear swimming suits in there. In total there were 3 saunas but one were private which you need to make separate reservation. One smoke sauna and “normal sauna” were open to everyone. I liked that the “normal” sauna was better than the smoke sauna. Smoke sauna was very dimly lighted so when you came from outside in you wouldn’t even see if there is someone already sitting there or not. Quite atmospheric really but some light would be nice too, it would be awkward to sit on a lap of complete stranger, lol.

The “normal” sauna was good for me, but I observed that some of the people who were taller than me, ahem, okay almost all of the others, I am quite short, had some issues with the height of the ceiling. Many actually hit their head while getting out.

However, my favorite part of the sauna was the lounge area, they had big fireplace in the middle of the room with class windows all around so you were able to see the flames no-matter where you sit. You were able to get drinks from the reception and we spent quite a lot of our 2 hours sitting in front of the fireplace.

Most of the other customers were foreigners so it was amusing to watch they experiencing Finnish sauna perhaps for the first time.
Out side there were big terrace where you could go to cool off between löylys or even dip in the sea. And it is open in the winter too. I have to admit that I were an wimp. I didn’t go for an swim. Usually I am the first one in the water, even if it’s cold, it’s one of the best feelings there is to go from the cold water to warm sauna. But the terrace floor was so cold that I was already freezing without even dipping my toe in the water…Okay, excuses, excuses. But it was cold! Many of the foreigners risked the cold water for an swim though.

In side were there were the common showers were also this ominous looking bucket hanging in the ceiling. I didn’t dare to pull the rope my self but I watched when couple of guys did. The bucket was filled with ice cold water so obviously I watched this within a safe distance. This, the bucket is not typical in sauna but it was nice addition in my opinion. Amusing for the spectators for sure!

Sorry to say that I don’t have any photos from the sauna, I didn’t feel comfortable to take photos when others tried to relax..

Following day we had time to visit couple of churches. The first one was Temppeliaukio’s Church also called the Rock church. In 60’s brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen won a architect competition on their plan to make a church in the ground. Inside the rock to be more precise.
The dome is veiled in copper tape which were needed 22 kilometres of. Reredos is rock fissure from the ice age.
Instead of bells this church plays Taneli Kuusisto’s chime melody from the speakers which has been imbedded in the outside walls.


Reredos in Temppeliaukio's Church


Candles in Temppeliaukio's Church

Helsinki Cathedral was on our agenda next. It might be the most famous sight in Helsinki, or atleast it is one of them! It’s huge!
Officially it’s been in use since 1852 but they started building it in 1830.

Helsinki Cathedral


Organs in Helsinki Cathedral


Chandelier and pulpit

Suomenlinna and Parliament House were left for our next visit.


The 4 most famous man in Finland

Posted by hennaonthetrek 23:06 Archived in Finland Tagged helsinki helsinkicathedral löyly temppeliaukioschurch

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I love a sauna but I'm sure the ones we have here at health clubs and the occasional hotel swimmimg pool would horrify a true Finn sauna connoisseur. LOL!

We visited a hammam once,and we both love hiking to hot springs in New Mexico.

Do most towns in Finland have public saunas?

by road to roam

My dad did a sauna in Finland back circa 1962. He told quite a story about it which I am sad to say that I no longer remember the details.

My granddaughter and I visited Helsinki from a cruise ship and one of the places they took us was the Temppeliaukio Church. We were told that the copper made the acoustics perfect and and it is a popular venue for music concerts. Alexander II

Alexander II

by greatgrandmaR

Jerry, I haven't never been in a hot spring but won't say no if opportunity comes someday to visit :)
In hammam I have been, and I was cold in there, lol.
As for the public saunas..If by public you mean sauna that is not in your home then there is 3 different types IMO.
1. The ones in swimming halls, spas and hammams.
2. The ones you can rent (for example companys christmas party venue etc.), these are at least one in every city and in most of the towns
3. The "real public sauna" or at least the one I consider as a public sauna. These are in most of the cities but not in towns. These are warmed every day (or every weekend) and they are open for everyone.

I started to write this on phone but had to switch on to a laptop in midway, lol. :D

by hennaonthetrek

Rosalie, shame, I would have liked to know what did your father think of our saunas.

I think, also the walls in Temppeliaukio Church was left as they were after constructing to aid the acoustics. I would have liked to hear the organs been played!

Is that photo from the Senate Square where the Helsinki Cathedral is?

by hennaonthetrek

Yes the photo was from Senate Square. We didn't visit the Cathedral. That's just a piece of the picture- the original photo had the whole statue.

I talked to my sister last night. She only remembered that he did the hot and then the cold a couple of times and then they beat him with sticks which I remember as being birch twigs. He made quite an amusing story out of it as I think there was a language problem so he didn't really know what to expect. There are two photos of the sauna listed in the catalog of their photos but I don't know where they are exactly.

I didn't know why my mother was not with him - near as I can figure, they bought a VW and drove and took ferries up the coast of Norway and down through Finland in June. Their pictures are amazing. They had their windshield broken as the roads were not paved and I seem to remember that Finland drove on the left. Then my sister and BIL who were living in Nuremburg Germany came and met them in Stockholm and drove with my mother back to Germany and Daddy flew from Helsinki to Moscow for a conference - this was 1962. Then Mother and my sister drove to Vienna and Daddy flew out of Moscow back to Vienna. He was so glad to get back out of Russia safely that he bought Mother a gold necklace.

by greatgrandmaR

The language barrier can make even somewhat mundane things interesting.
Ah, the notorious birch twigs..They have the leaves attach so it really isn't as bad as it might sound :)

By driving on the left, do you mean that the car is on the left side of the road or that the steering wheel is on the left side of the car?

If the first, it's not correct, we drive on the right side of the road but the steering wheel is indeed on the left side of the car :)

I can understand your father, Russia in the 60's might have been quite thrilling experience.

by hennaonthetrek

I know that Finland drives on the right now, but somewhere in that area my parents reported that there was driving on the left (Lapland?) and that it caused some accidents. It may be that I am remembering wrong. It was some time ago and I wasn't there in person.

by greatgrandmaR

In Finland we have always drived in the right side but on Sweden they had left side driving until 3.9.1976 so probably that was were they had their "difficulties".
Finland's Lapland and Sweden's Lapland are quite near to each other after all :)

by hennaonthetrek

OK that was it. They said the border they had to change over and not everyone remembered. I don't think they had any accident themselves except for the stone that broke the windshield.

My sister was horrified about the beating with sticks. I remember it as an amusing story that my Dad told me.

I have found some of the photos from 1982 Norway and Sweden and probably Finland, but I have not found the ones my dad took in Finland and Russia when my mom was not with him. I know he escaped from his handlers and got into some areas of Moscow that were verboten for tourists to be in and he took photos there of stuff that wasn't so pretty.

by greatgrandmaR

THat should be 1962 (not 1982)

by greatgrandmaR

I see how that can bee confusing if you have to change sides on the border..

I don't mind the whacking part so much but the smell of the birch is nice!

It must have been exciting for your father to roam on his own in Moscow!

by hennaonthetrek

Thanks for your enlightening story about sauna traditions... Good for you!

by Vic_IV

I am glad you liked my post, thanks for reading :)

by hennaonthetrek

I worked in Finland for a year as an au pair. Your pictures of Temppeliaukio's Church and the railway station bring back happy memories. I lived in Espoo but spent a lot of time in Helsinki.

by irenevt

Propably you have spent more time in Helsinki than I am then! :) Glad to be able to bring back some nice memories, good to have those when the world is "closed" for the time being! :)

by hennaonthetrek

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