Just Back From
The sky was bright and clear as I walked over the wooden deck of the Löyly spa to peer into the Baltic Sea. The smooth planks creaked at the weight of my solitary footsteps and the cold Helsinki wind made my eyes smart—even though we were just days away from May Day, the Scandinavian celebration of the arrival of springtime. I was bundled in a turtleneck, wool overcoat, scarf and gloves (layers I had just bid farewell to at home in New York), and as I looked back over the deck, to the entrance to the saunas, I struggled to envision myself stripping down, bounding across and jumping into the frigid blue-grey waters. Which is what most people do when they come to Löyly, one of the city’s must-visit attractions. Finns and tourists alike take the icy plunge for health benefits, no matter the season, usually after a hot steam. And often lunch. I couldn’t imagine it—but perhaps my imagination was spent in that moment; after all, I could barely believe that I had made it to Helsinki in the first place.As this week’s Indagare newsletter showcases, our team is constantly on the road, around the world, scouting for the latest intel and best experiences to share with our members and readers. My trip to Helsinki, which was part of a larger itinerary grandly dubbed “The Splendors of the North” that also included Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Moscow, was originally planned for April 2020. It would be rescheduled a total of six times before it was finally realized two years later, almost to the day. And in that time, two of the cities on the itinerary became impassable. In those two years, we had learned—and were still learning—just how quickly things could change, and be taken away. We had become both more serious and more spontaneous travelers, considering our chances to explore with a deeper sense of gravity, and gratitude, but also opening ourselves to the unexpected opportunities of the present moment. And in fact, this shift made me better equipped to understand and embrace the true magic of Scandinavia, a part of the world that is wild, harsh and unforgiving—and also a paragon of grace, beauty and charm. Over my ten long-awaited days in Stockholm and Helsinki, I discovered three words that illuminate this dichotomous essence—and, I think, hold the secret as to why these countries are such enchanting places to visit.Contact our team to learn more and start planning a trip to Sweden, Finland and the rest of Scandinavia. Our team can provide advice on crafting the perfect itinerary, match you with the luxury hotels for your taste and arrange bespoke dining and touring experiences.
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