Planning my trip to Finland through Sweden I found information about Christinehofs Castle and its surrounding ekopark. Pictures looked nice and the information about a hiking path made me curious. I arrived, parked my car and first of all had a look at the castle. It was not possible to look inside, but the building looked beautiful in its surrounding and especially with the very beautiful weather. So after a short look I started my hike which beginns roughly behind the castle. The park of the castle is now a nature paradise. You will find really old trees and a huge wet area with a lake over which a wooden walkbridge brings the visitors forward keeping the feet dry. During my visit it was really calm and I could enjoy the nature. I am sure you will love it too!
A very interesting view into Swedish history gives you the big amount of industrial memorials of the Region Bergslagen. Many of the sites spread almost from the Norwegian border to the Baltic sea are related to mining and iron ore processing. These places are covered together as the Ekomuseet Bergslagen and have a very well prepared presence in the web.
It is very good to plan your visit to these sites using the web page of the Ekomuseet Bergslagen. I did visit quite a lot of them on my to Finland, spending three days here in the area. Over the time I will feature some of them here on my blog…
Almost in any national park or hiking area of Sweden and Finland you will come across these very helpful things called duck boards. Some people do a hard job to keep hiking in these partly remote areas so comfortable that you can admire the nature without any problems. I think I have been using these boards for more than 500 kilometers throughout my many hikes in Sweden and Finland. So it is a good time to say a warmly Thank You to all those who take care of duck boards. You do a great job!
Finlands most famous word, which became a lingual export, is the sauna. In Sweden the same thing is named Bastu. Using the sauna is a central point in Finnish social life. Imaging that statistics say that there is one sauna on two Finnish citizen. In the past cities had public saunas, which nowadays is not common anymore. There still exist some for example in Helsinki.
Many saunas nowadays are heated by electricity, especially in the densely populated city areas the original way using fire is not suitable. Electric heating often produces a hard strong steam when pouring water over the hot sauna stones. This is not optimum. My Finnish friends and me prefer the more soft steam from wood heated ovens. Fortunately there are plenty of them and especially when going for a cottage weekend you rarely find electric ones.
Wooden heated saunas devide in two principles: The “normal” sauna has an oven which continously can be filled with more firewood during the sauna session. The oven is relatively small as it does not have to keep the heat for a long time. Smoke is lead from the oven to the outside of the building. The other type of wooden fired sauna is the Smoke sauna. This is pretty rare to find. It has a huge oven with a lot of stones on top. The sauna room has no chimney. During the heating procedure the smoke stays inside the sauna room. Once the temperature is reached the room is opened to get rid of the smoke. Problem is that once in use, it is not possible to heat more. But due to the big amount of stones this type of sauna stays hot for several hours. At the beginning the steam is much hoter than in a normal sauna, later on it is a very smooth one. People like it the most but it is a lot of work. And dirty as the smoke stucks on the benches and walls.
Using sauna in Finland means that everyone stays in the heat as long as he wants. There is no competition. Its a place that people like to talk in. Some go for a swim afterwards, I just prefer to feel the cold wind on the skin.
You should try it!