Last night I went out to try the famous Finnish sauna. We went to Jen’s friend’s place. His building had a sauna on the roof, with an excellent view of the city. We sat in the sauna and broiled. I think it was set for about 90 degrees Celsius, which I thought would be intolerable. Actually it was pretty nice. We ladled water onto the sauna rocks to create steam. In Canada, most saunas are equipped with a sign that warns us not to pour water on the sauna rocks. The Finns found this shocking and unnatural. I’d have to agree. Next time I’m in a Canadian sauna I’ll pour some water onto it, but I’ll make sure I’m not touching anything metal first 😛

After the sauna we went for a beer at a local bar. This district is known for its cheap beer bars, and true to form, there were some rough-looking characters there. I was surprised to see the bartender and owner of the bar were Chinese. We chatted a bit. They are from Hong Kong. Despite being a fairly homogenous society, Finland still has its share of Chinese entrepreneurs.

I woke up today with a bit of a sore throat and I was feeling dizzy too. I had hoped to take another walk in the Centre with my camera, but I decided to stay home instead and try to regain my strength. I don’t want to get seriously sick while away. I slept for a couple of hours and feel stronger now, but still not 100%.

Tonight we had dinner at a Finnish restaurant called Omena Puu (Apple Tree). Surprisingly, Finnish restaurants are not easy to come by. One of the guys at the sauna last night was saying that the history of Finnish cuisine is pretty short, because the history of the Finnish middle and upper classes is only a couple of hundred years long. Before that, Finnish people were poor and only ate whatever they could get their hands on. This is why Finnish food has such a bad reputation. Now, when Finns want to go out to eat, they want to eat anything but Finnish food. Makes sense. I had quite a good meal tonight though. I started with Lohikeitto, which is a creamy, buttery salmon soup with potatoes and rye bread on the side. Then I had Omenapuun Poro, which is reindeer steak with a gorgonzola sauce and lingonberry jam. It was served with creamy tarragon potatoes and bread cheese. For dessert I had a cloudberry sundae. All of it was very good, and all of it was made with plenty of cream. It’s all been a bit of a surprise to my lactose-intolerant system, but I think it’s worth the discomfort. 🙂

Tonight we’ll take it easy. Tomorrow we’ll be spending all day at the rock music festival, so I want to make sure I kick whatever bug is plaguing me before then.