Mökki party

There are roughly half million summer cottages in Finland; I suppose we just can’t get enough of our nearly 200,000 lakes, plus we need some more space and privacy, and some time off from our neighbors. I am still learning how to love the cottage life in our family summer house near Kuopio, but sunny, warm weather and parties like the one last weekend certainly make it easier to go to the woods and listen to the mosquitos.

The "White House"
The “White House”

Vaajasalo, our cottage, hosted a summer party of 63 people: we even had a military tent in the yard to accommodate the residents, since the guests occupied all the indoor space! I didn’t know pretty much any of the guests (most of who were over 50), but it was still fun!

Muurinpohjalettu, flipping pancakes from a bucket
Muurinpohjalettu, flipping pancakes from a bucket

We had food including traditional summer dessert, “muurinpohjalettu” pancakes, followed by sauna and swimming in the lake…

 

Partying in sweatpants, cottage-style!
Partying in sweatpants, cottage-style!

3 sets from a 5 person band playing in our front porch, followed by a rave with popping champagne…

Who needs festivals when you can have your own
Who needs festivals when you can have your own?

All in all, not your typical a) weekend or b) summer party.

By the way, in case you are ever in Kuopio or in the near-by area: there’s a winery in the same island as our cottage (Vaajasalo). They have a smelly, huge pig, some peacocks and an ostrich. He (she?) Was a weird-looking fella.

Weird neck and bigger eyes than brains
Weird neck and bigger eyes than brains

Ostriches are the fastest 2-legged species. The kick of an ostrich can kill (not surprised). Usually they live in Africa. I wonder, if the one in Alahovi winery goes to Africa for winter holiday…

 

 

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Chim chil pong

No, the title does not refer to slot machine sounds even though slot machines can probably be found in some chim chil pongs. The term refers to a Korean spa, which in my case was Dragonhill Spa in Seoul.

Soaking, steaming and chilling for 24 hrs? Sure!
Soaking, steaming and chilling for 24 hrs? Sure!

This particular Chim chil pong was apparently one of the best in Seoul. It consists of separate bathing floors for men and women; in addition to 3 different temperatured baths, there was ginseng, herb and seasonal herb baths, massage bath as well as additional beauty services such as massages, body scrubs and hair removals that could be purchased for extra cost.

Directory of Dragonhill Spa
Directory of Dragonhill Spa

When entering the spa, you get clothes for the public area, and a locker key that works as money inside the spa. After soaking in the baths and enjoying the saunas (infra red and one that had mist spraying from the ceiling), most people go to hang out in the arcade, public space, cafes and various hot/cold rooms that are located in the common areas.

Christmas feeling and sleepy people
Christmas feeling and sleepy people

You can spend 12 hours in the spa with no extra cost, so people go there to hang out and spend time with family, sleep after going out to party, or to go on dates (some of the small rooms seemed to be very nifty for that purpose). Our initial plan was to sleep in the spa but since it was crowded (Saturday night) and home was near, we opted for a good solid sleep, though there was also a sleeping room for women only.

Spa tombs
Spa tombs

Going to chim chil pong is definitely worth it, since you get to experience the way Koreans spend time. It is a cheap option for hotel (12,000 won: approx. 10e) and definitely interesting! If you intend to stay for longer than 3 hours, I suggest bringing a book or something to occupy yourself with. During the wee hours of night, the atmosphere might get gloomy.

Koreans seem to share the Japanese ability to sleep anywhere, anytime
Koreans seem to share the Japanese ability to sleep anywhere, anytime

Oh onsen!

In the promised town of Onsens, one simply cannot spend half a year without entering at least few of them. Today I visited rather different onsen than the natural ones I went last month.

 

Family onsens in Myoban

The original plan for today was to walk to Myoban, which is 5km from APU. Since the day was so lovely, we kept on walking past the family onsens and tourist attractions to Kannawa, the most famous onsen area in Beppu.

(Perhaps) rice drying in a hut with clay ground, Myoban onsen area

 

We found our onsen almost by accident, after deciding not to go to a public 100yen bath.

Onsen in Kannawa, no idea what it was called

 

This onsen featured a sauna-like room, where we wore a yukata and went to lie down on floor covered in strays. There we were for 10 minutes, it felt almost like being in a sauna at home (though our weeds are birch, and usually we don’t have rocks under our heads)!

Door for midgets, leading to the hot chamber with stray floor

 

After the steam “room” (height was about 1,2m), we went to bath in the super hot ofuro. 750yen for this fun, I guess it’s about the average price or a bit higher than others. My skin does feel softer than before!

It’s good to have visual instructions

 

Next time maybe the most famous “8 Hells” onsens, who knows?