At the Fell Centre Kiilopää, a paradise of soft wilderness action, they are firing up the smoked sauna several times a week. A sauna is not at all a surprise accommodation service in Finland. It is mandatory. It is just as common as breathing in and breathing out.
The smoke sauna, however, is not what you find at every rental housing opportunity. You will, normally, not find it in residences either. It is special. It is the better sauna.
The standard sauna is powered by electricity nowadays. The air is dryer, it is hotter, and it isn’t as comfortable. When your panels are hotter and you splash more water unto it, 10 minutes is often the time you will endure in it.
The smoke sauna is gentler. The air is more breathable, the temperature is no more than 60 enjoyable degrees, and you can easily sit in it for an hour. It is the traditional Finnish sauna, savusauna. This is the sauna that really cleanses and refreshes you. Sauna has a proven health effect, and in this case, smoking is not at all hazardous to your health.
At 7 am the staff at Kiilopää will fire up the sauna. For eight hours the fireplace will heat up 1 000 kilos of stone. Without a chimney, the smoke fills the sauna and is released through the open doors. In the afternoon, at 3 pm, the sauna is ready, the smoke is gone and 15 hikers can take a seat.
The smoked sauna in Kiilopää was built in 1998. Smoked saunas have been built in Finland for hundreds of years. Saturday has been the big day for the Finnish family to do the sauna. Two and three times a week the Finns ignite the sauna. It is relaxing after a day of hard work.
A thousand lakes come in handy, when the needed dip in water is due. In the winter bathing in the snow will also do. In Kiilopää, they have dug a little dam for the purpose. During the winter it is artificially kept open. Together with the shy forellen (brown trout) you can do a few strokes. Our guide, Mr. Mauri Virpikari, says it is an enjoyable swim when the water has icy degrees.
Saunas are done bared naked. In this setting, accompanied by beer, or perhaps a gin & tonic, you are exposed. Maybe this is why the Finns are such good storytellers.