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Kesän Floating Sauna, summer sauna, Oulu, Finland - my hot top sisu experience

Kesän Floating Sauna, summer sauna, Oulu, Finland

If a volunteer-run wood burning sauna floating on a raft off the banks of magnificent Oulujoki River doesn't show you how serious Finns are about their saunas, nothing will. Experiencing the Kesän Floating Sauna, you will be encharged by sisu and never forget Oulu.  

Photo. Kesän Floating Sauna in Oulu, gave me both a wonderful hot and cold experience. It`s here the Finns get their sisu from?

Sisu means having extra energy. It`s the Finnish art of inner strength. Through their sisu the Finns can achieve everything. The spirit of sisu is beiing stoic determination, hardiness, courage, bravery, willpower, tenacity and resilience. It's an action-oriented mindset, or to put it in another way: you just let your actions do the talking.

Oulu is the largest city in Northern Finland. Here you never get bored. Probably the most memorable activity you can experience is stepping out on a floating sauna. I had a wonderful experience at the Kesan Floating Sauna in July 2022. This sauna truly provides an unique experience: a sauna on a raft. It`s run by volunteers on the Gulf of Bothnia that separates Finland and Sweden. This small wooden raft takes visitors for a trip on the Gulf and offers the unique chance of a floating sauna hard to find elsewhere. 

This floating wood-burning sauna sits five metres off the northern bank of the Oulujoki, reached by a hand-pulled punt. Unusually for a Finnish sauna, it's unisex, and bathing suits are mandatory. Fresh birch branches are available for a vihta (sauna whisk). It operates only during the summer months. It was fantastic for me swimming around and at the same time admiring the beautiful scenery of Oulujoki river. It`s hard to jump out in the cold water after being heated in the sauna, but with sisu I just just let the actions do the talking: little bit gradually and finally jumping out in the water. 

The sauna make me feel breathing, or say it even stronger: it`s make me feel living. It`s so much affectenging me. A sauna may help open airways, loosen phlegm, and reduce stress. As the heat in a sauna improves circulation, it may also promote relaxation. This can improve feelings of well-being.  When a person sits in a sauna, their heart rate increases and blood vessels widen. This increases circulation, in a similar way to low to moderate exercise depending on the duration of sauna use. Heart rate may increase to 100-150 beats a minute while using a sauna. This may bring some health benefits.

The shower is on the back side of the sauna raft. A good etiquette is to shower before entering the sauna the first time. It`s not allowed to use soap regarding protect the fish. The sauna is comfortable - make sure you keep your head low, though! I bonked my head on the ceiling at one time or other. The reservoir water is cold, but so refreshing to swim in after relaxing inside for a bit, so you’ll be glad you took the chance to take a dip and have a rest on the deck before heading back inside. It gives you a chance to chat with people, too. 

In June 2014, a modern ferry building appeared in Oulujoki, and smoke rose from the roof to the astonishment of passers-by. Inside, in the dim light, 350 kilos of stove stones glowed hot as the first ladle tipped over them. A handful of sauna-goers paused to feel the steam. It was soft. The long-awaited public sauna was finally opened. Two decades had passed without a single public sauna operating in Oulu. The boat sauna was different from what many sauna enthusiasts had envisioned: It swung in the water in front of Tuira beach, and it was temporary. The raft sauna was taken to storage for the winter, from where it was moved back to Tuira's swimming beach after the snow closed. The sauna was named: Summer Sauna. 

If a volunteer-run wood burning sauna floating on a raft off the banks of magnificent Oulujoki River doesn't show you how serious Finns are about their saunas, nothing will. Experiencing the Kesän Floating Sauna, you will be encharged by sisu and never forget Oulu.  

Stein Morten Lund, July 2022

Additional information

Address: Koskitie 58, Oulu
Website: www.kesansauna.fi and https://kesansauna.fi/in-english/
Hours: 5-9pm Mon-Fri, from 3pm Sat & Sun Jun-Aug
Price sauna: €8

Koivurannan saunalautta:
is another floating sauna, located on a raft by Oulujoki river. The wood-fired sauna offers private cruises along the river, where you can admire the beautiful scenery of Oulujoki river through the window as you bathe, as well as public sauna hours at the pier near downtown Oulu. From this sauna, there’s never more than a couple of steps to the refreshing river – in the winter it’s accessible to the brave through a hole. On the sauna raft, you can enjoy the warmth of our spacious log sauna while watching the beautiful Oulujoki River through the window. When the stones of the sauna stove get too hot, you can plunge into the cool river and then chill out with your friends in our peaceful lounge. Internationally, saunas are generally only found in luxury spas, but they are so popular in their native country of Finland that practically all houses, hotels, and even apartment buildings have one of their own. These are a few of the most unique public, boutique, and historic saunas you can visit in Finland. While in the sauna, you get to enjoy the hot but soft air of our wood-fired sauna. At the sauna, you always have the opportunity to go swimming in the river (in the winter, we make a hole in the ice). 

It`s the largest city in Northern Finland. Founded in 1605 by King Charles IX of Sweden opposite the castle built on the island of Linnansaari, Oulu is situated by the Gulf of Bothnia, at the mouth of Oulu River, which is an ancient trading site. The name Oulu comes from a word in the Sami language meaning floodwater. Oulu has been the capital of Oulu province since 1776. From being a town known for tar and salmon, Oulu has evolved into a growing modern centre of competence. 

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