by Waltteri Lahti, degree student in Media
As a Finn or student of Finnish you’ve most likely faced one of the most important things we Finns are truly proud of – no, I’m not talking about Angry Birds – I’m talking about saunas. For centuries saunas have been a place for cleansing and relaxing the body and mind. These nearly meditative warm rooms are meant not only to wash yourself but to socialize and meet other people as well. In this case I’m referring mainly to public saunas.
I’m 23 years old now and the first time I went to a public sauna was less than two years ago. In fact, not many Finns visit or have been to public saunas at all. And when I talk about public saunas I mean places that only include a sauna – not the ones in spas for example. There are many public saunas across Finland mainly focused to the cities. I’m going to tell you about the best one in Tampere which is called Rajaportti.
The sauna of Rajaportti has stood in the same place for over a decade and it’s the oldest public sauna in Finland that’s still in use. It was built in the early 20th century next to a shop and bakery. Since 1989 Pispala sauna association has been responsible for activities and maintenance of the sauna. In addition to the sauna, there is a café where you can buy something to drink and eat before, after or in the middle of going to the sauna. The environment feels like you’ve gone back in time and many people visit just for the nostalgia of good old days. The entrance fee of the sauna is 5 € or 8 € depending on the day and there are also student discounts for serial tickets. As you can see the price isn’t bad at all! Towels and seat covers can be rented for a couple of euros as well.
For a small amount of money I will guarantee that you will enjoy a magnificent experience in the public sauna of Rajaportti. You will get to meet many kinds of people who are openly socializing in the warmth. In the midst of the steam and these strangers you might actually start to feel confusingly comfy. I highly recommend to visit the place any time of the year.