However, the cold water was not what shocked me most. I don’t consider myself to be particularly coy, but going into a sauna is somewhat scarring the first time. Men and women are in two different sections, but in your section, everyone is naked apart from towels which barely cover anything. Bathing clothes are not allowed in the sauna anywhere in Sweden, and definitely not in these baths. It can be quite daunting at first, but once one gets over the initial shyness one can appreciate the relaxed feeling of the baths. It definitely brings you and your friends closer together sitting there sharing sweat and rowdy stories fitting for a sauna. (Don’t try to go into the shared sauna; my friend and I had an idea that it would be filled with hot guys with abs – I’m just going to say that us going in there for a second lowered the average age with about 50 years.)
Swimming in freezing water is a shock to your system but once you’ve gotten back up from the water and look out over the sea the feeling of mastering the cold is truly spectacular.
Here’s a link to what it can look like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjg7tYaiX7A
(OBSERVE: If you have a heart condition, suffer from poor health, suffer from general weakness or just aren’t as fit as a true Viking DON’T DO THIS. Seriously. This is not a game from the weak.)