My dark side of life: everything that goes into the process of heating the sauna !

First of all you have to drive 200 km to get to our summer (winter) cottage in central Finland. The small village nearby is called Kasiniemi and is situated in the province of Padasjoki. This is where the other half of my roots come from...

Once having settled down we can start the Sauna Process. This initially involves carrying about 60 litres of water from the lake for washing and even murkier purposes. In the winter time this event is preceeded with hacking a bucket sized hole (31k) into the lake ice ! Usually the hole freezes (56k) up in minutes, so it needs to be reopened every day. Provided the wood shed is in good shape i.e. charged with firewood, the following step is to initiate the heating process (137 kb). After a good hour of fireworks (55k) (during which it is most definately the last chance to ensure the post-sauna beer is in the refrigerator or cellar !!!), it about time to strip down naked and enter the approx. 90 degree Celcius chamber. The Finns have a habit of making a bunch of leafy birchtree twigs that is called either a vihta or a vasta depending on whereabouts Finland you come (I call it the vihta, my Finnish half is from Häme, so there). After tossing a cupful of two of water onto the raving hot stones above the sauna furnace (lotsa steam here) you start to frantically whip yourself with the birchtree vihta. I guarantee it is *much* more fun than it sounds ! (216 kb)

During the Sauna Process it is customary to run stark naked down the landing stage and dip (224 kb) into the usually icy water. In the winter time you can roll in the snow (and make so-called snow angels by lying on your back and moving your spread-out hands up and down ...). Some individuals make a point of hacking the above-mentioned water retrieval hole in the ice big enough for a dip in the chilly water. *NOT* my cup of tea. But I do love sharing the post-sauna beer (157 kb) with whomever joined us in this ordeal ! You can also cool off a bit between sessions by sitting on the landing listening to (158k) and watching (67k) the surrounding wildlife (a glowworm (107k) under the porch and another shot without (27 k) the flash...).

Sometimes the sauna sessions can run right into early morning hours, and in the summertime the sunrise (79k) can be a very beautiful sight to to see as the first sunrays hit the morning mist over the lake. In the wintertime, mysterious snow angels (41k) may appear on the frozen lake...

(Due to extensive feedback on the post-sauna beer sound file I am compelled to declare that it is the Farnborough Brit in me that results in the oddity of drinking my sauna beer from a jug. I prefer my beer directly from a can, but the pricing policy hinders this somewhat - MF 21.03.1998)

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Updated 27.05.2003