There is a first time for everything

Jumping Headfirst into Nearly Freezing Water

Apparently, you are not supposed to jump headfirst into nearly freezing water after being in the sauna because once your head gets cold, it’s very difficult to keep everything else warm. I’m glad I was given this information after I jumped headfirst into nearly freezing water. I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll get back to the sauna, but first let’s get to know each other a bit better.

My name is Dillon. I’m a university student studying abroad for a semester in Tampere. The city of Tampere just so happens to be submitting a bid to be the European Capital of Culture in 2026 which is wonderful timing since two of my favorite things–besides raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens–are capitals and culture.

Almost as cute as capitals and culture

I’ve never been to Finland before or even Europe, so I am what you might call an outside observer. I will use my outsideness to discover what the culture here in Tampere is all about, and hopefully my adventures (knowing myself, they’re going to be more like misadventures) provide a peak into the culture of this region. I am honestly so excited to learn about this city, and maybe, you my dearest reader, will learn a thing or two from me. I will be writing this blog every week about my experiences in Tampere, and, if I do my job right, the most important thing you’ll learn is that you should come and experience the culture of Tampere. My exploration will be guided by four main themes.

I will explore and learn about Tampere through the four categories of more edge, more village hopping, more sauna, and more play. One thing I know I do not need any more of is black sausage.

Mmmm, delicious

That’s a little inside Tampere reference, so don’t worry if you didn’t get it. We have plenty of time to get the background for all my jokes. Even with background, my jokes will not get any better. Will that stop me from making these average at best jokes? No, no it will not. So, join me as I dive headfirst into the culture of Tampere (callbacks!).

The first aspect of culture in Tampere I explored is more sauna. I have not yet had any sauna which makes it difficult to have more. How can one have more if they have yet to have any in the first place? Here’s what I’ll do, I will have a sample of sauna and see if I want more. Sound good? Good.

This sample of sauna was wonderful. I went to Kaupinojan sauna which I highly recommend. I also made a video blog which has some great candid reactions to the sauna and even has footage of me foolishly jumping into the water, but for those of you who are old school and prefer the classic medium of writing, I’ll break down my experience at the sauna.

The sun goes down pretty early here during this time of the year. So, the walk through the trail in the woods was not very well lit. I may or may not have taken a wrong turn and slipped on some ice on the way to the sauna. Nonetheless, I arrived to the sauna in one piece–it’s all about the small victories. Kaupinojan is a public, co-ed sauna which means you wear a bathing suit. After a quick rinse off in the shower, I walked into the sauna for the first time, and the saying rings true: you never forget your first.

The heat hit me right away. I knew it was going to be hot, yet I was still surprised by how hot it was. It’s like really hot, you guys. I brought my camera in the sauna because I am dedicated to the craft, but I had to quickly remove it because of all the condensation and the camera lens fogged up right away. Who knew saunas would fog up a camera lens? What was that? Oh, everyone knows that. Literally everyone but me knows that. Cool. Once I was sufficiently hot enough, it was time to head to the lake which is conveniently just outside the sauna.

It was just like this, except totally dark

I kept my flip flops while heading down the stairs to the lake which would have been fine if I wasn’t about to leap into the water. My flip flops fell off instantly. Fortunately, these flip flops floated which is a feat a few flip flops fail to reach. I scooped them out of the water and scampered back up the stairs in search of the sweet, sweet warmth of the sauna. By the third time going into the lake, I learned to take my flip flops off before I went in. And they say I’m a slow learner.

Overall, the experience was amazing. I cannot wait to go back to Kaupinojan, explore the many other saunas Tampere has to offer, and get to know the culture of Tampere. Until next time, have a wonderful week and enjoy the video below or don’t; it’s your decision, so do what makes you happy.