'Christmas sauna' in Helsinki gives enthusiasts a free sweat

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2016 1:44 PM
'Christmas sauna' in Helsinki gives enthusiasts a free sweat

HELSINKI (AP) — Wrapped in a towel and oozing sweat, a steaming man steps outside into sub-zero temperatures enthusing about the sauna which he's just come out of — right in the middle of Helsinki in the city hall courtyard.

The Finnish hot room plays an integral part in year-end traditions, and Helsinki decision makers have made sure there's free and easy access to a wood-burning "Christmas sauna" during two weeks of December.

Ville Vehmaa says he's probably had a sauna "maybe ... 3,000 times," but he's still attracted to the transportable wooden hut, seating 10 sweating bodies at a time, which opened on Dec. 9.

Anna Pakarinen, one of the organizers, said Sunday that providing a sauna in the historical center helps make "a good city a livable and a lovable city."