No visit to a Finnish summer cottage is complete without a visit to the sauna. Finland has approximately five million inhabitants and around three million saunas. It’s a way of life here, to relax, spend time with friends and warm up in mid-winter. The majority of homes have their own sauna and, if not, there is usually a shared sauna in apartment blocks where families have their own private use periods.
Life at a summer cottage is no exception, where we stay there is a wood fired sauna which is lit even on balmy summer evenings. Whilst the sauna is heating up, thick ‘sauna’ sausages are wrapped in foil and placed on a cast iron tray suspended from the ceiling, hanging just above the wooden stove.
It takes about an hour for this wood burning sauna to reach a high temperature and be ready for use. I find sitting in a sauna, in the dimmed light a very relaxing experience and afterwards my entire body feels deep cleansed and invigorated.
After the sauna you can take a swim in the lake if you wish as the effect of hot and cold on the body is supposedly beneficial. Outside the sauna house there are steps down to its very own swimming platform. I have to say that I didn’t take a swim in the lake but instead enjoyed a shower after my sauna.
It was then time to enjoy our tasty snack of the sauna cooked sausages with beer or wine. Life at a Finnish summer cottage is most definitely an idyllic experience.
Packing up, it was then time to return to Savonlinna to catch the Onnibus back to Helsinki. As we arrived a little early, our friend took us to a quaint cafe that only opened this year in the old railway station. All the cakes and pastries are home baked on the premises and our cinnamon buns tasted really fresh with a strong spiced flavour.
We then returned to our holiday apartment near Helsinki which overlooks a sheltered bay so we hadn’t left the countryside behind in Savonlinna, but merely exchanged it for another lovely view of Finnish nature!
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