|I'm nervous. Very nervous. It's one thing to be naked in a Finnish sauna with women, but to do it in a mixed sauna... well that's just scary.
By the time I get off the bus my new long nails (you don't want to be biting them through Mongolia) look a little less even.I get off the bus and follow the signs that lead into the woods and lined with a few street lights. No problem. Then the lights stop abruptly. You gotta be kidding me.... it's black.. pitch black. I don't have a torch and there is no moonlight. I brave-up and walk on ready to perform the 'eyes, nose, throat move' on anyone who jumps out from the bushes. (remember that one from school gals?)
This is the largest traditional wooden smoke sauna in the world. It is only open one night a week as it takes 24hours to heat it up.
I arrive at the sauna - a wooden hut in the woods by the lake. I get the rundown - You must shower before and between saunas with soap.It's a mixed sauna but there are separate male/female change rooms and showers. Swimmers can be worn in the lake, but not in the sauna, But you can wear this towel around you if you like. Yes i say, I like, i like.
It's cold outside. It's -3, so i'm wearing beanie, gloves, thermols, jacket and wooly boots.
Inside the sauna it's super hot. Sweat trickles down your body and it feels like even the moisture in your eyeballs is evaporating as your eyes cloud over all the time. When i start to feel dizy i run from the sauna and out of the hut. I throw my towel on the ground and before i can talk myself out of it, i jump. As i hit the water, my skin turns to pins and needles. The air is knocked from my lungs. Goh, it is cold. I scramble from the lake onto the jetty. My skin is bright pink. Back in the sauna my body feels numb. the heat in the room seems to have gone and there is a nothingness to the temperature. It's neither hot nor cold. Slowly the heat seeps in and it feels like you've had the best tingly body scrub in the world. That was Kuopio.
(whoops... photos for Kuopio are under Turku entry)