Friday, January 31, 2020

Damn parking ticket

I got a parking ticket today on my work trip in Stockholm. Grr...

I wanted to park on the city parking places, but the app they are using, Betala P, was "not available in your country" according to Google appstore. WTF...

So I opted for the commercial parking but then forgot to extend the parking time. Sigh. Forgetfullness cost 900 SEK this time. Grr...

Text and photos (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Ariston Hotell sauna. Or is there one?

I always book different hotels on my trips to Sweden, to try out different areas for fun, but also to test drive different saunas. This time I booked the Ariston Hotell in Lidingö, a nice island community near Stockholm. With ski a ski hill... no snow during this bad winter though.

The hotel promised a sauna on their page, although it turned out that it is actually a sauna in the next-door gym, and it costs a small fee (50 SEK, or about 5€) to use it.

No sauna or ski hill can be entirely bad, though this one wasn't great, but it was ok. I mean it is actually great that there's a full-blown gym facility next to the hotel, literally 1 meter away. But about the sauna itself: For some reason there was a slight draft next to the walls when you're sitting in the sauna, which you could feel in your back. Otherwise the sauna was hot enough.

Overall conclusion: this is one of the cheapest hotels in the Stockholm area, I think I paid less than 60€ per night, and for this price what you get is actually very good value.The breakfast is great, for instance. But the sauna isn't one of the best ones that I've been to.

Oddly, the hotel seems to advertise Pommac:

Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. And more sauna stories can be found from, of course!

Forest Powder in Kopaonik, Serbia

Kopaonik is the premier ski resort in Serbia. And I got the premier weather arriving there, in heavy snowfall.

I had fun cruising the powdery closed runs and thick forests.

My only regret is not visiting Kosovo on the same trip...

There was also an abandoned ski lodge at the top of the mountain:

To get to Kopaonik, one has to drive. It was fun watching the various cars in the heavy snowfall. My car was a brand new Mercedes (even if I had reserved the smallest possible car, thanks, Sixt!) but its sensors kept going crazy. It was not too difficult to see why, the outside of the car was cover in literally an inch of ice.

Here's a fun mini:

And of course, car adventures are not complete without having to observe the antics of Tesla drivers. How's this for parking style?

But I really loved the trees:

I also checked the Goulash index, by checking the price of soup at the ski area. 300 local or about 2.9€. Cheap! The soup was also good.

This article has also been published at TGR. And all skiing articles are of course at! You can also read all the Planetskier and Planetcaver articles at Blogspot and TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Kopaonik Spa Experience

While in Serbia I stayed at the Dvori apartments, about 10 kilometres from the ski slopes. They had a quite nice spa area, with a jacuzzi and four saunas. Very relaxing!

Saunas, the infrared, Finnish, steam, and salt room:

More pool pictures:

More sauna and swimming stories at and! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. All pool and sauna photos are taken with permission, when there have been no other guests, or when the facilities have been closed.

Vela Spila, Korčula

It feels like I'm destined to find closed caves during the winter period. This time I wanted to visit the Vela Spila cave, an archaeologic cave site near Vela Luka, on the island of Korčula in the Croatian archipelago. But, it was closed. Figures.

But I did get to see most of the cave through the gate, and hiked also to the top to view the cave from the large roof holes. It is an interesting place -- on the hills above Vela Luka, with great views and big enough cave to easily support ancient groups of cave dwellers. With the top holes, it would also have been easy to keep a fire going in the cave.

The digs are continuing on the site, and despite being 10 meters down, they have not yet reached the rock at bottom or run out of signs of human inhabitation. It is exciting to see what they will find as the digging continues.

It was also very nice to visit the Korčula island, with its ancient and picturesque towns:

Sunset from the cave:

Cave gate:

The inner area, photographed through the gate:

The inner area, from the top openings:

See more caving stories at, and see other articles by the planetskier at Blogspot and TGR! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Vrnjača špilja

Google maps promised that it would be open. And it took hours for me to get there. But, no, in the winter season there's no one at the Vrnjača špiljar or the Vranjaca cave, and the gates are closed. What a disappointment!

Of course, there seemed to be a way to walk in anyway. At least to the final gate that closes off the stalactite parts of the cave. So the trip was not a total loss.

Split is also a very nice city. Some views:

See more caving stories at, and see other articles by the planetskier at Blogspot and TGR! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Kettils Grotta

Kettils Grotta (Kettil's cave) near the Rosersbergs Castle for an evening hike in the darkness and rain.

Read more about this place from Wikipedia. The coordinates of the cave are: N 59.573 E 17.827.

See more caving stories at, and see other articles by the planetskier at Blogspot and TGR! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rain Blues

It's 160 feet to the top, we’ve got rain, no snow in this half of the country, it’s dark out, and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it.

All this happened at Peuramaa. Earlier articles can be found here playgroundseasondarknessopening daygolfers, and drone. Photos (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. My skiing stories can be found from Blogspot and Teton Gravity Research, as well as of course Planetskier.Net!

Lost keys

Remember how I broke my Volvo keys last week? This week, obviously, I lost the remaining key...

Well, I thought I lost them. I later found them on the door of the car in the parking log, had been there the whole day.

Phew, but what a stupid thing to do. Can't afford to lose more keys!

Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

New Year, New Volvo Troubles

Another Volvo story, now from the 2020s...

Morning: New year, new Volvo troubles. First the battery is out, not sure why. I go for the charger in trunk, but can't get there because there's no power for central locking. Try the key, key snaps. Now buying new charger at Motonet, where I got a ride from the repair guys who were picking up the snowblower that blew up yesterday. Neither them or any neighbours have starter cables.

Evening: On the positive side, it is nice to walk to the train in beautiful southern Finland winter weather:

Later: Charging now let's see if it will help:

Also, I think I identified the problem - indoor light switch in wrong position, used the battery in two days.

Midnight:  Its alive!

Next day: Today's F-word is "Flu" :-( Didn't help to walk in the rain yesterday.

Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 6, 2020

My massive crash in the Ylläs 24H

During the Ylläs 24h race in 2019, around 2am I was heading down the Worldcup run at,  I guess,  at a bit over hundred kilometres an hour. And then something happened. I lost my skis, I tumbled, and hit myself to the icy slope pretty hard.

When I came about I was on lower on the slope, in full yard sale form. I collected a pole or two and sat down on the side of the slope. I thought I had broken something. But amazingly, I was just having some bad feelings from my back to head and the limbs, but nothing seemed to be broken. Also, my giant slalom racing skis were tuned for DIN 10, and I had not really known if they would open in a crash, as I usually keep my bindings at DIN 7 or 8. But they did, that's good news. Otherwise I might had broken a number of bones...

In a couple of minutes the race organisers showed up in their snowmobile and asked if I was ok. I said I was, and they gave me my skis from higher up. I skied very carefully down, and decided that I need to take a break and see if I'm really OK. I ended up visiting the sauna in the race facility, and watching the racers fly by in the darkness.

I also considered whether I should rejoin the race after that, but decided that it is better if I try to sleep a few hours.

But sleeping was difficult. There are several hotels in the area, but since I had thought I wouldn't need any, I started calling the hotels and found out that none of their receptions were 24/7. In the end, I slept maybe 6 hours in my car under a sleeping bag, occasionally waking up and heating it up the car a bit. It was a cold night.

In the morning I felt better and re-joined the race. This was my first crash in this race, though, having been there now four or five times.

Photos (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. My skiing stories can be found from Blogspot and Teton Gravity Research, as well as of course Planetskier.Net!