Blogger: Stephanie Lynch
A few years ago, Stephanie spent two weeks in a town called Virrat in Finland. It was a college programme with students from across the EU and it was an amazing experience. Stephanie is going to write a few blogs on her favourite experiences while in Finland. Her first one is on her visit to Hyvölän talo.
One of the days during our two week experience, we went up North and paid a visit to Hyvölän talo which was a farm house on a lake surrounded by a wooded area. A day of making fires, preparing pancakes and Finnish sausages, relaxing in a smoke sauna and of course a few dips in the ice lake. Little did we know that this red farm house was going to hold so many of our memories of our trip. Firstly, we admired the surroundings with friends we made from all over Europe. It was amazing to get to know other people and cultures. The wooded area, quaint house and surroundings would take your breath away.
After getting used to our location and taking in the beauty that surrounded us. Next up was to face the fear! The ice lake ‘dunk’! Let’s just say people heard me from miles off screaming and I even got the comment that my scream was heard all over the forest!! The idea of making your body go into a frozen lake is not too appealing. The idea behind the smoke sauna and the frozen lake dip is that you become so hot from the sauna that the lake seems refreshing. I am not sure how much of this I believed but when in Finland, do as the Finnish do, right? My strategy was to stay in the sauna as long as possible so the water was refreshing. I have to say it was one million times easier than I thought it would be. In my mind going from extreme heat to cold would shock the body in a terrible way but instead it just felt energetic and I can see why people go back and forth. After the adrenaline of running back and forth, we got the chance to relax in the outdoor hot tub with the rest of the group and it was lovely to experience it and get to know everybody.
After our lovely sauna, ice lake and outdoor hot tub we were all relaxed and we moved onto the next Finnish activity in the woods. Camp fires with pancakes, fish and Finnish sausages. Ok, so we had to collect the wood and light the fire before we even got to smell the lovely treats. This was another experience in itself. Lighting a fire in the woods from scratch…I had never even attempted this. Looking for us some of our team members were quite good at it and we had the sausages and pancakes on before we knew it.
Even though I had this experience with people all around the EU, I also got the chance to experience it with one of my best friends. Only three people in the college were chosen for this adventure and we were lucky enough to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity together which in turn made our friendship stronger. Jumping in an ice lake with a best friend alongside you, makes it that a little bit easier.
An experience of a lifetime together.