Good Morning, America

"High noon in central Finland"

Merry Christmas morning, everybody. It's noon right now, and I woke up about half an hour ago. I looked out the window, and this is what I saw.  Gotta say, I'm a fan.

Also, a quick anecdote: yesterday, I was introduced to a proper Finnish sauna. Yes, Kaisa's family has one in the house. Pretty cool, right? The sauna itself has a somewhat large antechamber which is essentially a giant shower room. The doors leading into it are made of wood, and opened with handles. This is because any other material would get way too hot. Another door from the shower leads into the sauna proper. The sauna is a windowless room with wooden walls, and a two-tiered wooden bench to one side. The only source of light comes from the wood-burning furnace in the corner, atop which rests a small pile of rocks. A wooden bucket with a long-handled ladle sits on the steps, and is used to throw water on the rocks to create steam. Eucalyptus oil can be added to the water to create a somewhat overpowering, but very pleasant scent.

You'll notice I've avoided all mention of the heat. That's because it deserves a paragraph of it's own. The others had already used the sauna before us and had, according to Kaisa, put a little bit too much wood on afterward. As a result, it was a boiling 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees F).  I wasn't able to take it for long. Kaisa informed me that it's usually supposed to only be 60-70 (140-160F) degrees, which actually sounds like it'd be a lot more pleasant. It was also very dry, because we only threw on a tiny bit of water, to keep it from baking us into crispy critters. Ultimately, I found that the most pleasant part of that sauna trip was taking a break and cooling off in the shower room. I think I'll try it again some other time, but with a sane temperature.

Oh, also, as a final note, here's a picture of the sun. This is midday light, people.

"Sun's position at noon. It's...what, maybe 30 degrees above the horizon?"