S is for Saunas and Swedes

I admit I had one selfish demand when we moved to Minnesota – a sauna.  

Needless to say, my husband didn’t need his arm twisted to agree with me. He spent several months researching the right one and dragging me around sauna vendors at the home show. To me, home and garden shows are like Dante’s circles of hell but with roofers and landscapers instead of demons. To my husband, it’s like going to Disneyland. 

 Thank goodness for his patience and thought about these things because I would just point at the first one that catches my eye. “Oh pretty!” 

Once our choices were narrowed down, we drove to the sauna showroom. Pulling into the parking lot, I was completely confused.  Through the display window, the only things to be seen were stacks and stacks of skis, boots, poles and goggles but no saunas. Color me confused.

Based on the giant blue and yellow flags hanging on the walls of the ski shop when we walked in, it was a good bet that the owners were Swedish. One of the owners eventually took us to the saunas displayed  in the back half of the store. 

It turns out there is a big connection between skiing and saunas, especially in Scandinavian countries. After a long day of skiing, you hop in the sauna to unwind and warm up.  Beyond providing warmth and relaxation, they also help to lower blood pressure and support better cardiac and pulmonary function as I found out that day. 

 As to reasons to buy one, you had me at keeping warm.  The rest is just frosting on the cake. 

Eyeing the flags on the wall as the owner rang up our purchase, I realized that my limited experience with Swedes consists of one awesome next door neighbor, an amazing realtor and several trips to Ikea. With over 27% of Minnesota’s population of Scandinavian descent, maybe it’s time to learn more. 

 Just as long as there is no skiing involved.

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