This particular bastu is a private club and memberships, as well as visits, are by invitation only. I was lucky to be an invited guest, as I hesitantly accepted their offer. Why did I hesitate? Well, the bastu is situated on the rocky cliffs of one of the islands around Stockholm and in between sauna sessions one jumps, or rather plunges, into the freezing cold waters of lake Malaren. I mean, it is after all December in Sweden. The temperatures lately have been hovering just over freezing at about 2 Celsius. Normally at this time of year the bastu members cut a hole in the ice that covers the lake and everyone dips into the freezing water surrounded by ice. It was just my luck that today the temperatures were a balmy few degrees above freezing and the lake was ice free. A nice day for a swim, don't you think?
I am not particularly fond of extremely hot temperatures and, well, my relationship to the cold waters surrounding Sweden can generally be summed up in one Swedish word: badkruka. Badkruka, which literally translates to mean swimming pot, but in actuality describes someone who is a chicken when it comes to swimming, is a word that has commonly been used to describe me. I have been known to stand, hesitatingly on the edge of the water, afraid to get in but wanting to desperately. It isn't fun for anyone and especially my husband who loses patience with me rather quickly. And that was during the "warm" summer.
But today I was determined. I mean, what better way to end my year of Finding Happy than with repeated trips between an eighty degree Celsius sauna and two degree Celsius water? After I met my friends to head over to the sauna I said, still not ready to commit, "I don't know if I am going to be able to get in that cold water." They just said, "Ok, but you are going to want to get in. It feels really great." Right. Oh, did I mention that we would also be taking these dips into the freezing water completely nude? The first trip down to the water after spending just under fifteen minutes in the sauna I lived up to my badkruka status. I merely stepped down the ladder enough to get my feet completely submerged. "Holy icicles!" It was COLD! I practically jumped straight out. I shamefully put my crocs back on and said that I would get in the next time.
Well, it took another attempt of submerging myself nearly up to my hips before I actually took the full plunge on the third trip down to the water. I have to admit that it did feel quite good after roasting in the sauna. And I guess I am willing to also admit that after a dip in the COLD water, returning to the sauna felt amazingly refreshing. I can definitely say that I am no longer a badkruka and I can definitely say that my Happy today was, in fact, found in something profound - a swim in lake Malaren in December!
Technically today would be the final day of my blog project but since 2012 was a leap year, I have one final day tomorrow, Day 366. Come back and visit tomorrow on my final day and don't miss the last Finding Happy in 365 Days Happy Package Giveaway! It is going to be fabulous!
Thanks Katie and Greta for an invigorating morning!