Sauna day

Today is Sauna Day in Helsinki, so I made my way to sauna in Stockholm too. Saunas are not that common here, but I think one can find them in hotels, spas, and at some gyms. Probably some private homes have saunas too, but I have never heard of a sauna in an apartment like we have back home. 

Swedish saunas have questionable reputation in Finland, and unfortunately I am unable to overturn this perception based on my limited experience. The pool experience is a little bit different too, but not as much as in UK. I swim at Kronobergsbadet, on Kungsholmen neighbourhood. The pool is inside the police HQ, and the entry is the door after the prison. Roof has barbed wire on it. I was rather concerned on my first visit! On the other hand, I would expect this to be quite a safe place to leave one's belongings during a work out.

The number of knots reveals that it is time to get a new pair of goggles before these completely disintegrate.

The number of knots reveals that it is time to get a new pair of goggles before these completely disintegrate.

The next, more universal thing is skogräns, the shoe border. It is right after the entry, already before ticket sales. The shoes need to be removed already in the lobby, just like at many gyms in Finland and Sweden. In UK I think they have not even heard of this concept... For the changing room locker you need your own lock. I understand this to be common practice in most public pools around Stockholm. The changing room is so tidy as all the shoes have been left outside, there is no sand, mud or dirty water on the floors. The pool itself is ok, water is not too warm, people are quite nice. The most annoying thing is that they don't have flags towards the ends. This is something I am used to, and it is highly beneficial when you want to swim backstroke and know when to stop or to prepare for flip turn. Now I have to guess, or try to see sideways what the colour of the lane separators is (they are blue and white ordinarily, turning solid red towards the end).

Showers have nothing worth commenting on, quite similar to Finland. However, sauna is its own chapter. The seats rise like giant stairs, with somewhat heavy look. Usually they would be bit more like shelves. They are also wide, which is good for if you want to lie down. The top seats reveal a design flaw: the wooden paneling stops before shoulders, leaving them exposed to the tiles when leaning (top tip: do not lean). With 82-85 C, tile is not the right choice of materials. The heat is quite ok, the tiles could be tolerated, but there is one big problem: no water throwing (löyly). It is the essence of sauna. Last time I met a Finnish-born lady in sauna and she told that these dry saunas are not uncommon, and this sauna is in fact from the better end. Not all pools have a sauna to begin with, and some just are not hot enough. We concluded that Finnish saunas are better.

Even though the sauna had somewhat weak performance, it was still warm and offered a nice moment of relaxation after work out. All in all the pool was a good experience, especially after the years in UK. Areas are clean, and there is appropriate temperature in all of them.