Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Harmony Spa

Today I washed the sweat and dust of the day off at the Harmony Spa. Very, very nicely coloured sauna. Hot too. And a nice blue pool.

Recommended. Nine thousand local to enter (around 27€).

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Read more sauna and swimming stories from and! And all sauna and pool pictures have been taken with permission, outside opening hours, or when there were no other guests present.

House of Terror

The museum of Communism's Achievements? Also known as the Museum of Terror... terrible stories about the killings, beatings, and imprisonments of the communist era. People who didn't follow the party line, or just happened to have a house that a party official wanted.

Horrible, horrible.

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. And once again, inside the museum one cannot take photos, but fortunately someone donated some pictures for this article. (Thanks!)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Labirintus: Lost in Count Dracula's Prison

A maze of caves and underground prison cells, cages, darkness, fog, and Dracula? Sign me up please!

Today I visited Labirintus, a set of connected caves and cellars under the Buda hill in Budapest. The adventure is to do this in darkness. And a wax museum! Again! This time from the opera... weird.

Not bad. Also, much cooler than the 30+ degrees outside.

This article has also been published at TGR. See more urban exploration and caving stories from and! Text and pictures (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Hospital in the Rock

A vacation isn't a vacation unless one can visit another nuclear bunker!

I had an opportunity to peek inside Budapest's Hospital in the Rock, a set of natural caves turned into cellars turned into a connected network of tunnels turned into an underground shelter for World War II turned into a hospital, turned into a secret nuclear bunker for cold war, turned back into a hospital for the uprising against Soviet Union rule, and now turned into a tourist attraction.

An interesting historical visit! What's at the same time interesting and disturbing is that the place is filled with wax models of patients and doctors, sometimes with lifelike (or should I say deathlike?) details of the wounded.

Taking photographs inside is forbidden. Fortunately I was able to to find some inside pictures from other sources, presented here for your viewing pleasure.

Generator lights in the still operational electrical system:

In the 1968 uprising against Soviet Union, the hospital was again needed:



This article has also been published at TGR. See more urban exploration and caving stories from and! Text and pictures (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Copying adults

Influence ... one has to be careful with that. I took my sister's twins today to their first cave. At first they were a bit scared, but soon they had helmets on, one was holding my camera and the photographing the other one going through the cave. I wonder where they learned that? :-)

We visited Aleksis Kivi's cave that I've been to before -- an excellent cave to visit for kids, safe, easy, but still cave-like. And only 50m from road. Much recommended! But does anyone have a recommendation for other caves that are equally easy, in the Helsinki region? At the moment I'm drawing a blank, because I can only think of boring-ish roof caves that will not feel like caves, and dangerous cliffs and rock piles. Any ideas?

See all the caving stories at! Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Gallträsk swim

I've lived 25 years in Kauniainen, but today was the first time that I swam in our lake, the Gallträsk. A perfect, hot day for that.

A public park path goes around the Gallträsk, and there are a couple of piers, including one with stairs for swimmers. The lake is very shallow, I think the deepest point is 1.5 meters.

And now to my own sauna to celebrate the national sauna day. To celebrate the national broadcasting company will have several hours of live broadcast this evening.

Follow all the swimming and sauna stories at and! Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Gorgas Creek Cave

Cave in a park in Philadelphia? Unreal...

I'm driving from New York to DC for a workshop, and decided to look up if there's anything interesting on the way. No skiing... no way. But there are some caves in Pennsylvania. In fact, there's two old, man-made caverns in the Wissahickon Creek. I decided to visit the most interesting one of them, the Gorgas Creek cave.

The Gorgas Creek cave is much less widely known than the other cave. In fact, very little is known about this cave. It was possibly one of the oldest mines in American history, created in the second half of the 1700s, possibly by the Boxborough Mining Company.

After some searching, I finally managed to find this place at roughly the coordinates N 40.0434 W 75.2132. However, as I entered the cave in the darkening evening, the thunderstorm headed to Philadelphia started to be threatening. I was worried about flooding in the deep canyon I was in. And I was worried about the computer I was carrying in my backpack for not wanting to leave electronics in the parked car... at some point I started running and managed to get to the car with only about 1 minute of rain falling on me.

Interestingly, few minutes later my phone beeped due to an alarm for flooding. I don't think any flooding actually occurred, but I did feel better on the highway, even with the heavy rain making my long drive more difficult.

I did not have time to visit the other cave though, the Cave of Kelpius. That would have been a cave dug out by a doomsday cult in the late 1600s. Apparently the cult withered away eventually, when the doomsday dates passed and passed with no actual doomsday arriving :-)

Another entrance to the cave, now filled up?


The drive:

This article has also appeared at the TGR website. See all urban exploration and caving stories from and websites! Photos, videos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

22th floor sauna

Once again in Kista, Stockholm. For work. In the summer everything seems to be better, though. Like hotel pricing. Apparently Kista is not a big vacation destination, so even the best hotels go for 60€ a night, so this time I'm staying at the Scandic Victoria.

And their 22th floor sauna is still very nice. And views good.

Read more of my sauna experiences from Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

The Black Sauna at the Finnair Platinum Lounge

I am heading to the IAB workshop & IETF but not before trying the new black sauna at the Finnair lounge with Ari.

Not bad! The painted wood seemed a bti strange at first, but it actually feels good. And the cooling room next to the sauna is spectacular! There's a sky window, artificial, I think... maybe. Looks like the real thing, actually, but it cannot be inside the airport. Very well done!

The only complaint of the new Finnair Platinum lounge is that to get my usual Pepsi Max or other soft drink I have to go to the bar and ask for one, instead of just grabbing one from the fridge. If you're in a BIG hurry to get to the sauna AND your flight, every second counts :-)

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Read more sauna stories from!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Hunting for the Sarfvik Secrets

I went on a long bike trip today with Jarmo, to explore the Sarfvik area in Kirkkonummi. This large area of farms, forests and seafront is blocked for public road access by the local residents. Why? Fortunately, you can still explore the area on foot, although the walks are long. But in the summer biking is an option.

We wanted to find a bunker on the southern seashore. Finding it proved difficult, however, but after an hour of criss-crossing the thick forest near the indicated coordinates we finally found the 2-meter wide gunport hole. And then it was easier to find the other entrances, even if they were smaller.

What was wonderful was that as a hard-to-reach area and difficult-to-find-bunker, not many people have visited the bunker. The stalactites growing in the bunker get to do so undisturbed. There was a great example of flowstone and stalactite on a piece of metal that had bent from the bunker's roof when the Russians detonated the bunker as they left Porkkala. What a find!

The bunker is roughly at these coordinates: N 60.12 E 24.605 -- I'm not giving exact coordinates to not make it a popular destination; you'll have to work to find it just as we did).

We also found a small cave under a boulder in coordinates N 60.13812 E 24.58308 and the remains of either a gun station or a container of some kind in coordinates N 60.13255 E 24.59590.


More photos from Jarmo and myself below. Here's the bunker:

More about the stalactites:

Biking and hiking:


This article has also appeared at the TGR website. Tämä artikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. See all urban exploration and caving stories from and websites! Photos, videos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Recycling the Mäntyvihta

It turns out one can recycle the pine bath whisk. Just stick it in a terrace flower box, just like people normally decorate their terraces with evergreen tree branches.

These branches may be a bit dead though, from all the heat in the sauna...

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Janne Arkko and Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Read more sauna stories from!