5 Eccentric Saunas
When you imagine a sauna or an infrared sauna, the most common picture that comes to mind is that of a traditional sauna, which can often be found in a luxury hotel or leisure centre complex. The world of traditional and infrared saunas is expansive and as we delve deeper into the wonderful world of eccentric, unusual saunas, you will see the creativity and imagination of the human mind.
This article explores a variety of unconventional saunas, many of which are from Finland, the home of the sauna.
The Gondola Sauna
That's right, you read it correctly; a sauna in a gondola. For those who aren't familiar, a gondola in this context is a suspended cabin which takes people along a thick metal cable high above the ground.
The gondola sauna, which is in Café Gondol 718 in Ylläs, Lapland, Finland, takes the users on a 4km trip at staggeringly giddy heights of 430 metres above the ground. The entire interior of the gondola is lined with insulating wood with 360 degree windows for spectacular views. Unlike an infrared sauna, a hot rock electric heater with a water bucket and ladle is used inside the gondola sauna.
As opposed to infrared saunas, hot rock saunas often reach higher temperatures. The ride is about 20 minutes and if you don't think you can cope for that duration, do not fret, the windows of the gondola can be opened, letting in the fresh cool air from outside; especially if it's winter time!
Bookings can be made for groups of up to 12 people. A maximum of 4 people can use the gondola sauna at a time while the other people wait in the sauna at the top station. The total price for 2 hours using the top station's sauna and pool, along with 2 sessions inside the sauna gondola will cost approximately €1500. This makes it possibly the most expensive and unique sauna session you will ever experience.
The Ice Sauna
A sauna made out of ice. The walls on the inside of this sauna are literally solid ice which begs the question, 'How does a hot sauna work if the walls are ice?' The Arctic snow hotel near Rovaniemi, Finland, offers such an experience. So, how does it work? With the solid ice walls the infrared sauna technology is not well suited. Therefore, a traditional sauna stove with hot rocks is heated outside the ice room. When the user is ready to enter, the sauna stove is taken inside. As the room is made of ice, the humidity of the sauna saturates every orifice of the sauna so much so that you wouldn't be able to see your own hand just 50cm away from your face. Again this limits the use of an infrared sauna setup. The sauna can only be used for 15 minutes at one time during which, between 1-10mm of ice melts away from the walls. After every session the sauna is frozen again, ready for the next user, which takes about 30 minutes or so.
A session in this very special and unique sauna will cost around €35 for 1 to 2 hours, which includes the use of bathing in a regular sauna. This is not too costly for such an exhilarating and memorable sauna experience; the primary word here being memorable. Alternatively, an infrared sauna is an ideal option for the convenience and warmth of your own home!
MIR Space Station Sauna
To transport water up into space is very costly, so much so that water would cost more than its weight equilavent in gold! Consider that though and now think why the Russians had a sauna on their space station. Water is recycled in the space station but it is still a very valuable commodity which suggests the importance the Russians placed on having a sauna 254km above the earth.
The sauna was built by the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia and is probably the highest sauna that has ever existed. The sauna is in the 2nd bathroom in a science module being largest enough for just one person at a time. The space station travels up to 26,000 km/h. Imagine having a sauna session for 30 minutes knowing you've travelled 13,000km. That thought alone has to make this sauna the ultimate sauna experience!
Unfortunately the sauna is no longer in the space station as the solar panels on the station had a high power load on them already with all the stations power and communication components to power. When choosing a sauna why not consider its power consumption. Infrared saunas can be powered with as little as 1.6KW.
Source: Popular Science - Russian Space Program
This is the M/S Gloskär, a 36 tonne boat with a sauna on it. The sauna on the boat can entertain quite a few guests, holding up to 20 people. The boat also has a grill cabin which can hold 20-25 people. The sauna boat, which patrols the Larsmo lake in west Finland is rentable and can be used any time of year. After a sauna session in the summer hot steamy users can jump off into the refreshing lake to cool down. In the winter it is still possible to jump in, but be warned, it may be extremely cold!
A typical four hour trip costs around €350 but this cost also includes crew and captain for the boat itself. While this expense is large when compared to a home infrared sauna, if the cost is split between 20 people it becomes fairly reasonable.
A mobile sauna made from a 1968 aluminum airstream overlander trailer. This sauna was designed and crafted in the United States of America. This retro mobile sauna has been skilfully crafted with a fully wooden interior.
This sauna is often seen touring festivals on the west coast of the USA. Whenever this mobile sauna is parked up it is sure to create much interest.
This article gives a glimpse into some of the exotic saunas that exist around the world. A home infrared sauna provides maximum convenience but these saunas create novel experiences in their own right. What would be your preferred sauna experience?
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