Riding bicycle appr. 1000 km in 14 days in Finland, 3 german youngsters wanted to learn more about Finnish sauna-culture & nature tourism in Finland.
The leader of the group is Tim Kniepkamp, 21 years, studying law and economics in Bielefeld – Germany. He has been in touch with Finland earlier during a one-month lasting trip last autumn dealing with the value of sauna for the Finnish society. Now, he was interested to deepen his knowledge about Finland and sauna while biking.
His two friends, Jan Zurbel 21 years – mechanic – and Lucas Hansen 21 years – student of economics, joined him in the bicycle-trip planning in Finland. Suddenly, they finalized the plan together over the last months.
The rough idea of the trip was to bicycle around Southern Finland and visit the beautiful countryside wherever possible. The route was as follows:
During the trip, they tested a number of different saunas including city residential saunas, lake-side saunas, smoke-saunas, public saunas, totally seven saunas – during the day, in the evening, and even in the morning.
In Anttola, at Saimaa Lake District, they stayed and slept in a beautiful massive round wooden log holiday-house, where they tested the famous Finnish smoke-sauna in the evening and the next morning. Here, they experienced how much sauna means to the people and their every-day life as well as how interesting it is even for young children. Eventually, they had the chance to try the vihta themselves and understanding its meaning for the blood circulation.
Even though riding bike around 1.000 km in the exceptionally hot conditions for a northern country like Finland (28°C – 32°C) was quite a demanding target to achieve in 14 days, they found relief along the way: The beautiful sceneries with lakes, rivers, forests were worth their efforts and so the riding could be continued without major problems. Especially sauna turned out to be very helpful to treat the muscles after sport. No wonder that the Finnish sportsmen and -women are the keen visitors of sauna! It was wonderful for them to experience the relaxing and recovering effect for the tired body and the very peaceful sleep afterwards!
After visiting all kinds of sauna, it became very clear that going to sauna is a social visit for family, friends, business partners, and not forgetting even politics! It seems that sitting naked and talking about mutually interesting things in sauna heat makes people more open and sincere. Everybody is considered equal and status symbols play no roles at all – the democracy of sauna! Also, sauna as a problem-solving mechanism was very knew to them however they found the system quite convincing to discuss disputes in a relaxed atmosphere.
After their intensive trip, they understand why the Finns are the happiest nation on the earth: A clean and safe country with beautiful, even untouched nature, a moderate climate as well as understanding and polite people.
The three youngsters thank all the lovely Finnish people who supported them along their trip from giving simple advice to even sharing their home with us. Without your support, this trip would not have been possible.
The undersigned – Tim Kniepkamp – is ready to give you more detailed information and photos/videos of this trip as well as contact info for sauna in Germany.