My latest, a story about Zagreb's coolest neighborhood for The New York Times

Global Glimpses: Helsinki, Finland

 

Sauna is seen as a sacred place in Finland, where babies were once born and ailments treated. Finns still take their sweating needs seriously so when I visited Helsinki in May 2011, I made a pilgrimage to Kotiharjun Sauna, the only remaining public wood-burning sauna, operating since 1928.

Pictured above is a foursome taking a break from the sweating. Socializing is fine in Finnish saunas but a friend of a friend whom I met for a drink that same night told me it’s considered almost a sacrilege to, say, read the newspaper or swear. Do so and you may get chided by the sauna’s very own spirit called saunatonttu, the sauna elf.

Add a comment

*Please complete all fields correctly

Related posts

Happy 2014
Posted by anja | January 2, 2014
Looking back at 2013… and then forward
It was a pivotal year, yet it felt somehow quiet. Perhaps because I write this from a quiet place. But it wasn’t so most of the year. My husband &...
Posted by anja | May 31, 2013
Global Glimpses: Lamu, Kenya
  In May 2011, I visited Kenya. On the 10-day sojourn, I went to three national reserves, got charged by a bull elephant, witnessed a fresh cow blood drinking ceremony...
Posted by anja | May 27, 2013
Global Glimpses: Havana, Cuba
  In winter 2006, I fulfilled a long-awaited dream – I traveled to Cuba. Among the highlights was the afternoon I spent marching with the Cuban people through the streets...