The first one was warm and moist.
The second one was easy and feisty.
The third one was mystical and worth all the wait.
I am of course talking about the saunas in my life!
The first sauna in my life was my childhood home sauna – a wood burning classic Finnish sauna. It took about 30 minutes to be ready, I could heat it up with my eyes closed and the Saturday sauna sessions were always followed by a plate of sausages grilled in the embers and an episode of Finnish dubbed BBC Nature documentaries.
My second experience was electrically heated sauna. It is easy to use and certainly a cure for sauna cravings when living in the city centre. The spirit is sharp, a bit dry and sausages are to be cooked in the kitchen.
What I encountered last and love the most is the smoke sauna. It takes forever to warm up, is potentially hazardous if prepared wrong (inhale carbon monoxide or burn the building) but the sauna experience is pretty close to religious when you walk into the gentle darkness.
Tip: If you are visiting Helsinki, in my opinion, the easiest place to try both wood burning and smoke sauna, is Löyly – a great sauna venue near the city centre. Make a sauna reservation in advance!