Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Sauna in a bus - only in Finland

Only Finnish people would think of putting sauna in a bus. But that's what they've done and it is the most hilarious means of transport in Finnish summer!

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it is Sauna has a very particular place in the Finnish psyche. It has raditionally been the place where this nation has retired to give birth, cleanse, make the world a better place, strenghten ties and honed deals. My peacekeeper Dad told me that when Finnish troops arrive at their new base, sauna is always the first thing they built and the last one to be taken down before leaving. It is such a fundamental right that even the prisoners of Kakola had their own. 

I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone thought about putting one in a bus... Finland, the promised land of crazy innovations.

Over the weekend I set out to attend Jiddishe Mama's son's graduation, but little did I know what kind a absurdly unexpected but oh, so hilarious turn the day would take. Only a couple of hours later I found myself stripping  in a bus full of people I'd never met before. Goodbye clothes, reservations and shyness. Hello sauna bus!

Equipped with a wood-burning stove (the best there are!) Sauna Express is only one of the many services offered by Härkätie Elämysporras. The bust itself is based in Tammela, but it can be ordered anywhere in Finland all year round. January-March there's a weather reservation, though as the temperature must be over -10ºc.

The back of the bus has been converted to a sauna that's seats 16 people. You're welcome to bring your own beverages. The hostess, part of the charming couple running this venture will serve them while looking after every other need you might have, too. In our case that even included the dog we had in our party. Bless them. 

Towels, robes, slippers and sausages to be grilled on the stove are all provided on the house - all you need to bring is yourself. And a bathing suit.  

The robes soon came in handy...

At the beginning of the summer a new restaurant complex opened in Hernesaarenranta in Helsinki and quickly became The Place To Be Seen in. One of its many attractions is their public sauna. So, where do you think we headed?

There. In our robes. 

Now, a lone person wandering around the trendiest restaurant in Helsinki, wearing nothing but a robe and slippers would without a doubt be written off as a psychiatric out patient but when there are 16 of them... Oy. 

The journey can be tailored for each group's specific needs and interests. We went for the first swim of the summer (yes! Even I swam! In the sea!) afetr which we made a couple of pit stops to resctock on beverages and continued our journey to the fairytale-like cottage of one of the couples onboard, located in the summer paradise of Porvoo.

Our group and our means of transport garnered a great deal of bemused attention where ever we went. At one shop the entire staff ran outside to inspect the bus. And my, what a sigt we must have been.

As we made our way through the serene countryside of Porvoo, walking one after another in matching robes (and tiaras!), we must have looked like a deranged cult getting ready to face the end of the world.

As the day turned to night, we returned to Helsinki all laughed out. What a day! Oh, Finland - you crazy, quirky, glorious Finland 

For more information on Sauna Express along with a link to make the reservation, just see here. Prices start at €892,20.





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