I am a big fan of saunas. I like the intensity of the heat (I prefer dry).
I also like how, by virtue of the fact that you are naked and you’re sweating like crazy, that people are able to talk more freely.
I’ve found that some countries do saunas really well. Some don’t. Finland, Russia, Germany, and Estonia are great at it.
The Finns, by many accounts, are jedi masters of the sauna and, for many years, it was in saunas (co-ed, btw) that many business deals were transacted.
As my friend, Heikki said, “in the sauna, you can’t hide…that’s how you build trust.”
My hotel in Tallinn had a great one and over the course of 3 nights, I was able to meet some Finns, a Latvian, and a Lithuanian.
While their English wasn’t always great (better than my Finnish, Latvian, and Lithuanian though), I asked a few questions and then just listened.
It is through the people that I most enjoy traveling. Seeing the sights is nice, but you can do that with Virtual Reality glasses.
Listening to people and ENJOYING listening to people who are outside of your normal course of action. That’s what makes travel special.
In close spaces at 205 degrees Fahrenheit, you really can concentrate on the words and emotions of the other person.
And a bonus…those who come from strong sauna cultures know sauna etiquette…the primary of which is…when you come into the sauna, you immediately close the door! Don’t stand there like an idiot with the door open. It’s chemistry, the heat goes right out.