Traditionally, Saunas are wood paneled rooms (sometimes in cabins like the one below) with wooden benches that are heated with wood fired stoves topped with rocks. Today, many of the stoves are electric (for the heating unit). Infrared saunas exist, but the steam is part of what makes it so good.
You ladle water onto the rocks/stove to create steam. We saw shops selling fancy buckets and ladles all over Scandinavia. Since warm air rises, the higher the bench, the hotter the temperature. It gets really hot and you sweat out all sorts of toxins.
Locals claim that slapping the skin with birch branches enhances circulation. They also believe that the chlorophyll releases opens your sinuses. Being American, we didn’t beat each other with branches or didn’t go in the buff (although locals do both).
We did, however repeatedly cool off. Many take a cold shower. If there is snow, people will go roll around in it.
Our favorite way of cooling off spot was on the island of Grinda in Stockholm’s archipelago. We started by walking tentatively into the Baltic Sea and ended by taking giant leaps into it. Even though I hate Polar Bear swims, I’d jump in from the sauna every day if I could.
I’ve decided to start a new, unfortunately all too regular, type of post called “Les Incompetents”. No translation necessary.
This is our stove. It looks pretty straightforward, right? Nope. It is my nemesis. Our first night here, it began beeping loudly at midnight. I pressed every button on it trying to make it stop and it finally did. Unfortunately, it started again at 1:00 a.m. just after I’d fallen back to sleep. There was more button pushing and some cursing (bilingual in both French and English) this time.
He wanted to unplug it. As you can see, it is built in. Since his first day of work was the next day, I think he was seriously considering ripping it out of the wall.At 2:00 a.m., the beeping started again! At that point, there was nothing else to do but sit down and read the instruction manual. I had been trying to avoid this because it is only in French and well, it didn’t exactly look like a good time. desperate times call for desperate measures. I spent the first night in our apartment on the kitchen floor reading our oven’s instruction manual in French. I succeeded in stopping the beeping that night and have been hesitant to use the oven ever since. I fear that pressing too many buttons may restart things. Les incompetents!