The trump card of Lammasmäe Holiday Center is a sauna adventure. Let’s just say that this is not a sauna sprint – you have to set aside hours to enjoy the sauna world in the middle of nature.
Ida-Viru is an adventure land and in order to supply new experiences, the best new adventures aren chosen every year. Recently, Lammasmäe sauna adventure was awarded this title.
The question may arise as to why the best adventure in Ida-Viru can be experienced in Lääne-Viru county by the River Kunda, but the answer is simple: if the people of Lääne-Viru want to cooperate with the people of Ida-Viru in tourism, they must get it. Besides, from a tourist’s point of view, it’s all a single Virumaa.
A guide to the world of sauna
I also had a chance to be one of the evaluators of the last competition and test Lammasmäe’s sauna adventure on my own skin. Therefore, I can share a little advice with other adventurers. There are five saunas to indulge in and enjoy a variety of body treatments. Other facilities include an indoor pool, wood-fired hot tub and jacuzzi.
Lammasmäe sauna men help become better friends with each sauna. Robin Täpp, a young sauna man, became our guide in the sauna world, who first served snacks and a welcome drink. He later shed light on what and in what order to do to get the most out of sauna. We made sure that going to sauna could be much more than hot sweats.
The sauna adventure itself began with a classic Finnish sauna, where the sauna man added various herbal infusions to steam water and we had to guess the herbs. Everyone’s favorite was the blackcurrant. We made headscarves from sauna towels and learned that it is also important to keep your feet warm – both hot foot wraps and hot footbaths are helpful.
A few steps away, an old smoke sauna brought from Setumaa was ready for whisk-whipping, the body could be treated there with traditional birch and less common juniper whisk. The smoke sauna is heated on Lammasmäe with aspen trees as they emit the least soot.
Next, we stepped into a sauna with a sauna bowl and heater, familiar from the „Spring“ movie. The sweating bench is covered with straw, which gives a unique aroma and stubing with which fights cellulite. The door must be opened to throw steam. „It’s pointless to check if the steam is coming or not, I promise it will come,“ grinned the sauna man.
We skipped a tent sauna on the river bank and headed for honey and salt procedures in the aroma-steam sauna, stimulating the body with slices of orange, grapefruit and lemon. It was a kind of preparation for a peat sauna, where the ’menu’ also includes skin care.
A swinging spa
Going to the sauna on Kunda River is like an adventure: the pontoon steps covered with peat tiles fluctuate as if you were walking on a peat bog, and the sauna itself is swaying.
The sauna man promised that peat has a rejuvenating effect. He is kidding: „This procedure should make you five years younger. I have’t tried it myself, because at the age of 15 it is banned to drive a car.“
On the contrary, women had nothing against rejuvenation, and liquid peat was boldly smeared on both the body and face. The raft sauna is 60 degrees and moist, so that the peat does not dry out on the skin and can do its job on the body.
Meelis Parijõgi, the owner of Lammasmäe Holiday Center, confirmed that this is the first peat sauna in the world, it was a gift from the family for the 100th birthday of Finland and Estonia. There are Estonian peat blocks in the wall and skin care is also done with Estonian peat, but the peat plates under the seat come from Finland. The northern neighbors use them as sound insulation boards.
The ancient people used to know that peat helped against a hundred diseases, and some folk wisdom is also written on the sauna door. At one point, however, everything good has to be given up, and the best place to do so is in the river where the sauna marathon finishes. The water of Kunda River is crisp all year round, so in addition to a clean body, you can have a pleasant chill.
In the future, the sauna marathon will be extended by a cave sauna and a two-storey sauna. „We want to bring various sauna cultures to Lammasmäe“, explained Meelis Parijõgi.
There are so many activities related to the sauna in Lammasmäe that you can’t try everything at once. If you wish, you can, e.g., make a felt sauna hat, prepare body scrubs or sponges from birch bust or go through a whisk-whipping master class.
Those who have passed the sauna marathon will be issued a Sauna Road Passport, where they can start to collect temples. If five temples are in the passport, a surprise awaits in sixth place. Dozens of tourism companies have joined the Sauna Road initiated by Lammasmäe Holiday Center.
From fishing to ax throwing
The biggest adventure of Lammasmäe Holiday Center is saunas, but the possibilities for rest are not limited to them. The settlement of our ancient ancestors Lammasmägi is located near the holiday center, so you may take a cultural trip. Nature lovers go canoeing on Kunda River or opt for bird watching. Activities range from fishing to throwing an ax and from ATV hiking to tennis.
After an active day, guests get a chance to enjoy local delicacies and a good night’s sleep. The holiday homes can accommodate groups of different sizes and in summer it is also possible to camp.
It does not matter whether you choose relaxation or active vacation in Lammasmäe, you will feel good in any case. The place was discovered by local deer-stalkers who came here to hunt far back in the Soviet era. The hunting lodge, which was built on the lands of Meelis Parijõe’s grandfather in the 1970s, is still in use.
„It used to be such a tough sauna place that even astronaut Grechko was here. He travelled on a train from Moscow to Tallinn, where the pioneers were waiting for him with carnations in hand, but the celebrity met one of our local hunters in a restaurant car and decided to get off in Rakvere to have a sauna and hunt here.
The case became a major international scandal that the astronaut is not lost in space, but disappears on earth. There are a lot of these stories, if only the walls could speak,“ Meelis Parijõgi commented.
The walls don’t speak, but the host himself is happy to tell amusing stories. It makes him an unforgettable host.