After I spent a week in Turku (Retrodorm), I had met some great people.
We went with a small group to the finnish sauna, not really far from the dormroom.
We walked to the busstop, were we had to take bus 18.
It took a while for the bus to come, what made the waiting very cold. And we had to go outside in our swimmingsuites! luckily we had a lot of fun during waiting already, cause we sang and danced to stay warm.
When we arrived to the sauna, i found out that you only have to pay for the key of your locker in the lockerroom to put your clothes in. (€2,50). In my country, the Netherlands, we have to pay an amount around the €30 to get to the sauna. But it is a very different experience here. I know sauna as an luxury that you have to save for. Here in Finland it is normal and it might be weird if you don´t have a sauna. Almost all the Finnish people I met have a sauna at home.
Once we switched our key (we got a key for the boys lockerroom) and changed our clothes we went in to the sauna. It is just only a sauna, (not a whole building with a sauna in it) where a lot of people are. On the upper bench it is the warmest, and on the bottom it is a little bit colder but still very hot! every one was going up right away, while i stayed as low as possible trying to not pass out of the heat. I was not used to it. Once i couldn´t stand the heat anymore, we went out of the sauna. We were ment to jump in the Baltic sea right away, but it takes a courage to jump in such cold water. so i freaked out. I was scared, I felt the coldness of the wooden and iron walkingpaths, and when I was at the water I wanted to feel the coldness too. I should not have done that. I thought ‘ OK, i came this far, now i just have to jump, that’s all’. So I did, …eventually. After the jump I couldn’t feel my feet anymore, so we went straight back into the sauna. Every one was so excited, while we were all thinking the same; why on earth do Finnish people do this for fun and especially more often? I was so proud of myself that I did jump in the Baltic sea, when it was so cold (-7) in my bikini! I was like: If I can do this, I can do everything! Untill I realized, no one is going to believe me when I just tell the story! I always make pictures of EVERYTHING, so it would be weird not to have any pictures of this activity.
I thought; I have to do this again while someone is filming it and we have to make pictures of it, so I would have evidence to show. Like the picture attached to this extraordinairy story. So I stayed a little longer in the sauna with two other people, while the rest was going to grab a camera to make pictures and videos for us. That was really sweet, allthough I think they could stand the cold weather a lot better than I do. So after finally being warmed up again in the sauna, we went for a second walk towards the sea. This time I borrowed flipflops (6 sizes too big, but I wanted to keep my feet :P) so I could feel my feet.
So a lifesaving tip if you are going to do this too: take your flipflops with you!
We counted till 3 and then jumped at the same time in the freezing water. While I was trying to get out of the water as fast as possible, a friend of ours thought lets just make a swim to the beach. He was crazy!
Anyway, I’m glad I have this amazing experience ( and evidence, a little ashamed of the screaming when i’m in touch with the water). I wouldn’t want to miss this crazy habit from my exchange trip. Although I don’t think i’m going to do this more often, I would recommend you to do it just once in your life. So it might as wel be in Turku, Finland!
Mayby… I will go back to do this again, because now there is snow everywhere. Next time I know for sure I will make pictures of the first jump, cause there definitively won’t be a second jump.
Thank you for reading my blog!
Text and photos: Eileen van Heemskerk