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Workin the World The 4 month trip that lasted 5 years .. all the adventures from Workers final year o/s and the trip back to Oz.

Nude it up!

FINLAND | Thursday, 26 July 2007 | Views [7305] | Comments [6]

Freezing lake after sauna

Freezing lake after sauna

Hands up who likes to go nude? Ok, ok, I have a few of you. Hands up who likes to get drunk? Hmmm, much better response. Finally, hands up who likes to do both at the same time? Ahh I see Wooly still has his hand up as does Pete Bro, excellent. Well then do I have a deal for you! And Horse, staying in your hornets, drinking beer on the couch, watching the crows, does not count as nude.

After spending a couple of days in Helsinki, once again in the rain, I boarded a train to head toward the land of the midnight sun, my first stop Kuopio, home of the Worlds Largest Smoke Sauna.

There are 2 things in life the Fins take seriously: Saunas and drinking. The first is not so easy to spot, the second however, well if you stop and look around you in Finland, everyone is drunk. From the 13yo girl who accosted me in the main street, to the blokes in the car park outside central station drinking bottles of Vodka (and dressed rather respectably may I add), this is a nation of boozers. However it is their ability to seamlessly blend the act of sitting in 90c heat whilst on the chop, which sets them apart.

The WLSS is situated in the forest on the banks of the lake surrounding Kuopio, it is usually only open on a Tuesday however there are also Thursday summer sessions. They crank it from early morning so the coals are ready to fire by 4pm when it opens and hit their peak around 7-9pm, being such a regular sauna attendee I thought it best to be there at this time, when the heat was really cranking.

As I have come to expect up here, when Tuesday rolled around it was cold and wet, after winding our way through the islands in the lake for about 30 mins, past some magnificent scenery, I was dropped at a pontoon in the middle of nowhere and pointed in the right direction. Through the forest I ploughed in my thongs until I arrived at a couple of wooden huts. The first thing you notice out here is the scent of the forest, fresh pine covered in a light layer of rain, it is something you forget about when living in big city’s, this, coupled with smell of campfire smoke, got the senses pumping and reminded me of camping with my family as a kid. I was officially excited.

Arriving at the WLSS I was surprised to see everyone sitting out the front in their towels, that’s right there was a bar there and all in sundry were on the chop. I promptly paid my €10 and was given 2 towels, one for use in the sauna and one to dry myself off with at the end. Did I want a beer to start? Sure why not, when about to enter a smoke filled, 90c room, why would I want all my senses operating at full capacity.

After the beer I made my way into the change room and a wall of nude, the Fins love it and the sauna is a deeply sacred thing to them, so whilst we of English colonisation retain some of that British prudishness, the Scandi’s have none. After showering I made my way into the sauna, which proved to be a mixed sex sauna, so apparently you are supposed to keep your towel wrapped around you, perhaps someone should have instructed everyone else. I know it is probably not the nicest image to conjure up, however try to picture walking into a dark room and a wall of naked people sitting there in front of you, balls on wooden seats, boobs sagging (the demographic was more Coronation Street than Hollyoaks). After getting over my initial shock I made my way up to the top seat, where the hard units reside, and settled in for my goal of 10 mins.

The first few minutes drifted by effortlessly, I was travelling ok, sure it was hot and the smoke hurt the lungs a little, but I was going to make it, and that was when I received my next lesson in sauna law, the old men are the craziest. Old man number 1 figured it was not hot enough so dumped about half a bucket on the coals (which are in a bricked off area about 2m x 2m and piled about 1.5m into the air). When the heat hits you it is like someone has filled a sleeping bag with hot water and dumped you in it, it wraps itself around you, stings the skin and hurts the eyes, it is difficult to breath and to be honest not that enjoyable, however the Fins loved it.

Eventually my 10 mins were up next stop was to head out nude and jump into the freezing lake. When I arrived at the sauna I noticed people jumping into the lake and thought they were crazy given how cold it was however, having spent a mere 10 mins in the sauna, I could think of nothing better. Making my way gingerly down a makeshift jetty, I plunged head first into the icy lake, the feeling was incredible, I was hooked. In winter they actually cut a hole in the ice and plunge in holding a rope in case they get lost under the ice, and after my first time I wanted to come back and do that. After about 5 mins in the lake I made my way back to the sauna, sitting there amongst the locals, feeling completely alive all I wanted to do was yell out “I love this” however I thought this may not go down too well with the big, nude, drunk guy next to me, so held my tongue.

After repeating the process for about an hour or so and to the point where I wanted the crazy old men to put more water on, I went out for a celebratory beer, of course my hosts were well smashed by this stage (they actually take their beers and gins into the sauna with them), ensuring some interesting conversation ensued as to why an Australian was sitting nude, drinking beer, with a big red, round face, in the middle of the forest in North Findland.

This is without a doubt one of the greatest things I have done o/s, to get nude and drink beer with locals, in the middle of nowhere, whilst partaking in their national obsession, is an opportunity which does not present itself often ... after reading that back to myself, it is probably a good thing opportunities like this don’t arise often! So, if you are ever in Finland, I can not recommend enough you make your way to Kupio on a Tuesday night for some nude, beer drinking, sauna actiion!

Tags: Culture

Comments

1

All I can say mate is Gold.....and how did you know i was putting my hand up on the couch in the hornets? The crows may be shit this year but at least we are now officially the Powers nemesis!!!

  Horse Aug 6, 2007 9:46 AM

2

Oh man that is sensational.. I'd love to experience that sort of thing one day MGM but as you know, I can't dive for sh*t so I might as well forget about it...

  O Aug 7, 2007 6:23 AM

3

Stu,
You're on fire. Mate, how did your wedding tackle cope with the changes? One minute you're blood must be boiling (surely there was at least one goddess amongst those low hanging breasts), the next you must have been in frightened turtle mode.

Sounds like a wonderful experience!

a

  Al Aug 7, 2007 8:21 PM

4

Workerman, great work. What I can't get is that you had to travel to the other side of the world in quest to realise that drinking beer nude is a good thing? I've been doing it all day umpire! nigga please.

  Wooly Aug 9, 2007 10:08 AM

5

Loving your work Stu - you crack me up. Hope your bits are back to normal after the shrinkage and expansion... :)

  Kyra Aug 19, 2007 10:06 PM

6

i want app Nude It

  ali Nov 27, 2009 9:17 PM

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