Today I introduced yet another American to the wonders of the traditional Swedish sauna and cold plunge routine. It’s one element of the culture here that I have TOTALLY embraced, though I missed the best part of the winter bathing season this year courtesy of my surgery.
Like most Yanks (and Brits, and…well, pretty much everyone except Germans), this newbie was a little wary of the nudity factor at first. The skinny-dipping is one thing…the sauna is something else entirely because of proximity.
But once the initial oddness of sitting around naked with a bunch of strangers wore off, she was completely onboard. Especially with the post-plunge-sitting-around-naked-OUTDOORS-with-a-bunch-of-strangers part of the experience. I know this sounds strange considering it was cloudy and only about 40 degrees (F) outside, but once you emerge from the bone-chilling Öresund, the air temperature feels outright warm by comparison!
While we were there, we ran into a Finnish friend of mine who turns out to be a Malmö kallbadhus regular. (This shouldn’t have surprised me since Finns are even crazier about the sauna/cold plunge ritual than Swedes.) Between her and my newly converted American pal, I should have no shortage of people to plunge with this spring!