Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sauna & Swim in Sofia

Before the Red Cross camp opened for the caving conference, I had to stay one night somewhere, and have a place for some work conference calls. I ended up selecting the Tsarsko Selo Spa hotel. An interesting place, with many saunas and pools :-)

First off, there seemed to be a continuous stream of weddings arranged on the yard in front of my room. But more interestingly, the place is primarily a football team practice space(!). And, for me, the important thing was of course that there were saunas and pools :-)

There were 4-5 different saunas, one big pool inside, one sunbathing pool area outside, and one cold pool. Not bad!

The inside pool:

The outside pool:

 The sauna:

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Read more swimming and sauna stories from and! And all sauna or pool photos have always been taken when there were no other visitors, after closing hours, or with permission.

Holy shit, it starts!

It is amazing. Who would have believed that replacing a broken starter motor makes the car start nicely?

But this happened. Even the feeling about the entire car is now different, because the starts do not feel like the entire engine is about to break.

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Hot pool in Santa Cruz

I stayed one night at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley, on a work trip. They had a pool... and a jacuzzi. Not bad.

More swimming stories from The pictures and text in this post are (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Moon over the missile base

I felt the urge to visit odd places, and an old Nike missile base seemed to fit the bill. But, I was quickly losing light on the only day that I could do this. Then the shortcut turned out to be non-passable, and the short hike turned into a 8-kilometre trek on steep hills. In darkness. And, somebody had removed the ruins. Trip ruined? Not quite, the moon and the sea were wonderful in the darkness.

Also, I found a smiley!

Oddly enough, all Internet sources that I had read about this site indicated that I'd find buildings on the missile site, but they must have been recently removed. All that remained were the concrete slabs the buildings were built on top.

The site is on the Sweeney Ridge, a 1200-ft mountain range between the San Francisco airport and the Pacific Ocean. I learned about the place from the always excellent Atlas Obscura. The coordinates are N 37.613 W 122.459. There's good parking at the end of Sneath Lane on the east side of the ridge.

Views from the ridge, over the San Francisco airport below:

Graffiti on the concrete slab remains of the missile site:

Sunset from the ridge:

I don't know what this was about...

 Sign at the site, with the added note about nothing left...

Concrete slabs, with moon above:

Fog on descent:

This article has also appeared in TGR. Read more urban exploration stories from! And follow all stories from t he Planetskier and Planetcaver at Blogspot and TGR. Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Today's busses

Today's busses are #350 and then #380.

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The last start ...

... of this starter motor. Hopefully fixed by tomorrow.

Unless it's the engine... in which case we'll have to see.

Photos and videos (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Caving equipment store?

I got an advertisement today from, a Finnish electronics store. The advertisement goes "everything for any cave" (or "kaikkea löytyy luolaan kuin luolaan" in Finnish). I think they meant to man caves etc, but I immediately headed to the shop to see if there was caving equipment to be bought :-)

There wasn't.

See more caving stories at! Photos and text (c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Banff Mountain Festival 2019

This evening I'm at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Helsinki. The movies are about skiing, mountain biking, surfing, and caving. Looking forward to the film's, they've always been powerful stories.

The festival runs for two evenings but I can only join for the first one due to some work travel tomorrow.

I was surprised to see Paul MacKrill starring in the caving film Ario Dream! This is a great film about exploration in a cave system that may some day become Europe's deepest cave. The feeling of remoteness, claustrophobia, fears come through to the viewers quite nicely in the film :-)

Jimmy Petterson's "Skiing around the world" Vol II was also on sale at the event. Jimmy has skied in 75 countries (a dozen more than me), and the book is a wonderful collection of stories of photos from his tours.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

CMH at Amer Sports

I went to a marketing show of the Canadian Heli-ski operator, the legendary CMH, as they were visiting Helsinki.

Lots of talk about how great it is. No mention of the 10 000 € price.

I think I'll earn my own turns by some other way :-)

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. And all Planetskier stories can of course be found from!