1:40 p.m. Tuesday: Best Place to Steam and Soak Like a Finn

Albany Sauna & Hot Tubs

There’s an old Finnish saying: “If liquor, tar, or sauna can’t heal you, then nothing can.” That doesn’t mean the Finnish immigrants who came to the East Bay in 1934 and built an old-school chimney sauna, or löyly, into their house sipped booze while basking in the heat. The sauna sprites of Finnish folk tales might get upset over such blasphemy. The sauna’s moist heat, invisible and not like steam at all, just about pulverizes any ache, fatigue, or ailment around. And after an icy, in-sauna shower, Albany Sauna and Hot Tub patrons emerge from their private sauna with light and clear heads. Over on West Solano, where parking and the waiting list are wide open on a weekday afternoon, Albany Sauna has preserved the original Depression-era löyly and added crystal-clear, open-air hot tubs (circular and wooden, the real deal), while still keeping prices down-home. It’s $11 for a half-hour in the sauna (just that amount gets you cooking) or a cool twenty spot for an hour in both sauna and tub. On Saturdays, the Finns usually hit themselves with fragrant birch leaves and then cut a hole in the ice to take an Arctic dip. Albany Sauna even throws in eucalyptus-scented towels every day, at no extra charge.

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