Just a day ago, I was in balmy Los Angeles noting how much the wonderful weather made me feel mellow and happy. Yesterday, I flew to Helsinki via Frankfurt and arrived at 5:30PM in pitch dark, freezing Finland and arrived at my hotel to find Marko and Jimbo waiting for me to go to Avantouinti. Avantouinti is ice-swimming which is often done in conjunction with sauna. Marko is a member of the 1337 sauna club, The Finnish Sauna Society, dedicated to the preservation of Finnish sauna culture. We went there and sat in the traditional smoke saunas packed full of naked Finnish men. Part of the sauna culture involves asking people if they'd like water poured on the hot stones when you are entering or leaving a sauna. In the particularly HOT sauna, the "yes" is followed by "ahhhh key toss (thank you) oooo heeeee". ;-) After some nice sauna we went avanto swimming. Swimming may be a bit of an exaggeration. We jumped into a hole in the ice from a pier clinging to a frozen rope. As we walked naked along the pier back to the sauna, I noticed the amazing scene of the frozen sea and the dimly glowing sky. I mentioned to Jimbo that walking naked and scenery like this was a unique combination. I think he was focused on his freezing feet, but he agreed.

I woke up at 3AM thinking icy thoughts and made a few edits on the Wikipeida Avantouinti article wishing there was an ice hole nearby...

Sorry for people who have read about avantouinti here before. This is my third time and I've blogged about it each time... (1 / 2)

7 Comments

Isn't travel wonderful? In comparison to most, you must have a very rich understanding of just how big and diverse this planet of ours is. The world isn't as fun once you freeze your nuts off, though!

Heh, never done avantouinti even though I'm a finn. I have been in a pool that's close to freezing, but I guess it's not the same thing.

It's funny that you can find avantouinti on http://en.wikipedia.org when there is fi.wikipedia.org too.

Grrreat!
I've been a coward-ass finn and have never ever done avantouinti either. I guess it must be cooler there than in a regular german shower?

Were you in a place called Lauttasaari to dip into the icy water? And still: how long will you be in Helsinki?

And who did you whip in the Sauna this time ?!

I have to post about Russian Bania, somehow similar and somehow different.

like brass monkeys i am sure ;)

being half Finnish I know this one - but have to admit I can't do it I dont like being so cold even for 1 minute!!!

I enjoy going to public bath houses whenever I am in Korea. All of them have hot and cold tubs next to each other so I can ping pong between them. Very very nice. I heard some Japanese bath houses have hot tubs with mild electrical current in the water. Is this true? If so, I'll have one more reason to visit Japan soon. Maybe I should try making one at my house. ;-p

Geeze, Don! Electrical current?!? Some people like to bungee jump or skydive, but bathtub masochism is new to me! Shall I throw in a few baby sharks and electric eels into that tub to make you feel better? ;)

Actually, I think what you're talking about is called a "hydro-electric bath". You can read all about it here.

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