01.03.11 – Dave’s up for adventure and one of the things on our list of things to do on his Finland visit was to “take” sauna and jump in the freezing water. We headed out to meet my English friend Dave (special shout out of thanks to English Dave for taking us to his sauna club) at the usual place, the Laiska Karhu bar (Lazy Bear).
We didn’t waste any time so we immediately headed out to the sauna club. The sun was just above the distant treeline as we made our way. It was another beautiful day in Helsinki. We passed the “swimming hole” on the way in, you can see it in the first picture above, so American Dave could get a glimpse of what was about to come.
The time was right to hit the sauna, it was around 1630, so there were only two other women in the sauna. Light conversation is always nice in the sauna so we told the women a little about our story, American Dave was visiting and this was his first real sauna experience. Finns love sharing about sauna and seeing someone from the outside enjoy it for the first time.
It wasn’t long before we had to head out to the water and American Dave handled it like a champ. No dilly dallying, just keep walking and climb down the ladder into the water. He did much better than me on my first time, no fowl language ;) We did the wash, rinse, repeat cycle, meaning we went from sauna to water and back to sauna, so you really get the full effect.
After about 30 minutes we were ready for the next, to head back to the Laiska Karhu for a post-sauna beer. The Finns have an expression, “beer never tastes better than after sauna.” Although the beer and conversation in the bar couldn’t have been better, the walk back to the bar was my favorite. The sun was now low on the horizon and the snow and ice was starting to turn shades of pink and blue. My favorite time of the day. There’s an almost euphoric feeling after sauna and the three of us were all “high on life” and stopping every once in a while to take in the beautiful evening. It couldn’t have been better!
Well, seeing I’m not a true Finn, I’m not sure if I’m “licensed” to do this but I’m planning on getting a Sauna Diploma for American Dave. In my eyes, he passed with flying colors.
- Baptized in the Wintery Baltic (tbeidler.wordpress.com)
- Finnish Swimming Hole (tbeidler.wordpress.com)
- Saunas: The Hottest Home Improvement (online.wsj.com)