Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Badger Award for Bravery goes to.....

As part of the Finnish experience we undertook an authentic Sauna. There was one at the Wilderness Hotel where we stayed. I have had Saunas before but never the real thing - with a real wood fire. Timo lit this for us and got it to up the correct temperature - and we trudged down through the snow to the Sauna hut at the edge of the frozen lake. It was 4:00 PM so was of course pitch black but Timo - that old romantic - had lit the way with candles.

I was not very good at it. Not the least reason being because I was in excruciating pain from my ribs and had trouble moving. But I gave it a try and stayed as long as I could in the oven before creeping outside to stand on the porch in a basin of tepid water for a few minutes. The basin was necessary so that my feet did not freeze to the porch – necessitating amputation. The temperature on the porch was probably -17.

Gwenyth and Cate get the Badger Award for Bravery by rolling (I kid you not) in the snow. I was not allowed to take pictures.

I must confess that had I been physically fit I probably would not have been tempted to roll in the snow. I think the Reindeer Ride will leave a lasting impression on me. We also did not beat each other with Birch twigs.

But – as it was – every movement was difficult and I was not able even to get in or out of the car with help. Also I kept shouting – involuntarily - with pain which was embarrassing in public places and on a couple of occasions I felt it necessary to explain  myself – rather than have people think I was an imbecile. It is however an excellent way to clear space around you in an airport lounge or indeed make people jump six feet into the air if you think they are too complacent.


  1. Having visited Finland in May 1979 after camping at Hammerfest in the snow, our Vikings tour took us through Finland. By then we were experienced in taking saunas.

    But in Finland there was one on a jetty by a lake so the drill was to heat up in the sauna and then go outside and dive in. My second dive (yes, I'm masochistic!) was when I learned the reality of the word 'breath-taking'... And all this in a mixed group, naked - it was not a sexy experience!

    What? No hidden cameras?

    Jim and I are glad Gwenyth and Cate had fun :-)

  2. I'm sure I'm much too much of a chicken to even think about it!

  3. As much as I love the cold, I do not think I could ever roll around in the snow.

  4. sounds like it was almost - but not quite - fun :-)