Day Two

Escape! Asia - - Free & Easy -

Af­ter a leisurely break­fast and an­other quick trip to the sauna to stave off the winter cold, trans­fer to the beau­ti­ful sea­side city of Helsinki. Perched on the south­ern tip of Fin­land, the coun­try’s har­bour­side cap­i­tal is a great place to sam­ple the city’s best and bright­est in art, de­sign, and gas­tron­omy. If your sched­ule al­lows for an ad­di­tion two to three days, we rec­om­mend a cruise aboard the MS Silja Ser­e­nade (tallinksilja.com/en) – the ship trav­els on the Helsinki-stock­holm route, which means you can spend a day (or two) in Swe­den be­fore re­turn­ing to Helsinki; a bonus if you’d like to cover two coun­tries in one trip.

The hottest new place in town (no pun in­tended) is Löyly (Her­ne­saaren­ranta 4, 00150 Helsinki; loy­ly­helsinki.fi/en), a mag­nif­i­cent public sauna built to be en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able and eco-friendly, and a self-dubbed “ur­ban oa­sis on Helsinki’s wa­ter­front”, Löyly’s saunas are a thing of beauty of­fer­ing a tra­di­tional smoke sauna as well as a wood-fired sauna. The pur­pose of the sauna’s outdoor seat­ing area is to al­low guests di­rect ac­cess to the sea, where they can dip to cool off in be­tween steam ses­sions. The Finns do this even in winter, when wa­ter tem­per­a­tures can some­times drop be­low 2 degrees Cel­sius, a recipe for heart at­tack if I ever saw one but prob­a­bly the rea­son for their ster­ling coro­nary health and out­stand­ing life ex­pectancy. Even if you’re not look­ing to par­tic­i­pate in sauna, Löyly is also a great place to catch up over drinks, with the outdoor decks over­look­ing the wa­ter be­ing ex­ceed­ing pop­u­lar dur­ing sum­mer. Löyly trans­lates loosely to mean “the steam that comes when you throw wa­ter on hot stones in a sauna”, be­cause yes, the Finns do have a word for that.

THIS PAGE No mat­ter which way you look, Löyly is a stun­ning vis­ual ad­di­tion to the Helsinki shore­line

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