Finland/ Sweden tour 2017 : Start 23. July / End 20. August
When I passed my Baccalauréat, I learned the Typical French theater classical dramaturgical schema would look like : 1/Situation . 2/Conflict or Problem happens 3./Different actions to solve the problems 4/Solution or Deus Ex Machina (Complete surprising solution)..
Actually the first week of my Scandinavian trip didn’t look exactly the same the Problem came at 1/ then 3/Action, 1/Situation again 2/Problem and then 4/… Just read 🙂
After weeks and weeks and years and years of preparation, and a first „Winter Tour in France“, the Camion Sauna (and me) was finally ready to take off to motherland Finland and to the mother village „Teuva“ where the biggest Mobile Sauna Meeting in Finland (or maybe worldwide) takes place. My quest for the Sauna Roots, and tradition can begin !
My diary of a Scandinavian trip or Manifesto for questioning the classical theater Rules of Narration
PART ONE : FINLAND
Sunday 23th of July / Berlin – Travermünde to the Ferry : 380 km / 0 Saunas
The last week before taking off was (like usual for me) a crazy intense time with millions of things to fix before leaving, and finally i made it perfectly on schedule, some small details I wanted to fix were not really got fixed yet, but only small details, nothing more I thought..
The first km heading to the Highway from the scrappy Hohenschönhausen, where i got my Workshop, brought me in a really nice euphoria, the one you know, for one Month your are on an other level and state of mind „opening to other people, to other culture, everything is open, ready for surprises“, like a radical changing of regular life where i feel stuck in sometimes. I said Surprise ? SURPRISE ! My truck offered me the first surprise I wasn’t even on the Highway, that a emergency light for the Alternator started to blink.. The alternator just DIED, 20km after the beginning of my trip, huh.. The euphoria was not completely gone but the sunshine which leaded me just hadn’t exactly the same effect on my skin..
So I continued driving as much i could by daylight, to save the batteries as much I could, and finally almost arrived to the ferry and stopped to get some fuel, and the truck didn’t want to start anymore, Fuck .. By Chance, Jens and me managed to get a system to use the Solar batteries to start the truck in case of Problems,(which is not really easy to Manage, on Mercedes LP since they have 12V Batteries, coupling to 24V just for the Starter) and this helped me a lot.. already twice, once in France, and once now ! (Danke Jens alter schwede)
So I Finally made it to the „Skandinavienkai“, where the ferries starts from Germany directly to Helsinki , I entered the Finmaid Boat at 1:20, the boat started to go at 3:00 in the morning. I felt completely awake, I Smoked some cigarettes and drink some beer and i finally headed to my cabin to have a sleep, in a room without windows, with 3 Other guys, already asleep. Good night…
Monday 24th of July / Travermünde – Helsinki : 36 Hours boat / 1 Sauna (Ferry Sauna)
It feels really weird waking up in a cabin without a window, as if you would sleep in an hermetic fridge. First statement.
What to do on a boat when you don’t have internet, you don’t want to play with one of the many Casino Machines, or consume bad smelling vanilla Perfume for only 19,99 E ? well you can read newspaper, OR you can go the Sauna ! In the Finnmaid Boats the Helsinki you can go the the sauna for free ! So yeaah, first contact to the Finnish Sauna culture, a Sauna on a ferry, with y window looking outside at the sea ! Russian Bikers, Finnish Truckers, Spanish people moving to Helsinki for work, and Germans moving to Finland for Vacation, one of them was Jan..
Tuesday 25th of July / Helsinki – Vaanta – Helsinki – 55km / 0 Sauna
Jan, is from Jena, and he’s on a motorcycle trip for 2Weeks in Finland. He told me if i need some help to fix the Alternator, he would stay with me, so we drove around from Mechanics to mechanics trying to find some Help for spare parts, the first places we went couldn’t really help us „We need a serial Number and then we can help you“.. Well finally we found those guys from ADITA, when we arrived with the truck, we (almost) didn’t for anything, they came out the shop with some Oldschool electric measuring machine on wheels which looked like an artificial respiration machine you might know from the hospital, they put cables at any places, and could say after few seconds what was the problem exactly. They could order the spare machine and we would get it the next day.. So perfect ! We dismounted the old machine, washed our hands and went to Helsinki to see something from the city at least.
Wednesday 26th of July / Helsinki – Tempere – Ylinen – 220km / 1 Sauna (Rajaportin)
After having a small breakfast, we mounted the Alternator back again, everything was working well again ! The price was really fair, and the guys were Helpful and nice for and little request we had, thank you !
So we went our way, Jan started to drive to central Finland, and I started to drive to Tempere, first taking the small roads, and finally took the the highway, which is free for trucks (Lucky me). I passed through many small villages, where I could admire the interesting way to build houses, wood is everywhere, decently designed, fine ornaments here and then, and weather wise, a low sun and low clouds, making a lot of light contrasts.
The Oldest Sauna in Finland (or in Tempere at least)
When i passed through the city of Tempere I saw this „Sauna“ sign, so I decided to stop there and to check a Sauna. I Was trying to find a parking place in the narrow street of the Rajaportin Sauna, and a sweating man, wearing only a Towel Run out the Sauna place and Screamed “ HEY ! Are you Heading to Teuva!? Is this a Sauna Truck ? Come and visit my Sauna !“ So fine ! I found a Parking spot for the truck and went in… the guy was Pete..
Eventually i discovered it was actually the „OLDEST SAUNA IN FINLAND“ 114 Years old ! The place is magical, man and woman have a separate Room, there is a big stove for both man and woman sides, with more than 1 ton of Stones on it, the Stones get preheated 6 Hours before the Sauna Opens to public ! After the „Kassa“ there is a small Changing room, and then you enter the Sauna room. The room is not like usual. it’s about 4 Meters high, and all made of Stone ( not wood), on two Levels : the lowest level is to wash yourself and to put the water on the stones (they use a 2m long Stick to put the water on the stones to avoid burning themselves), and all the heat and „Löyly“ goes to the first floor, a little Area, 1,70m high, where you can seat 12 persons. Somebody on the first Floor put water on the stones, and according to the time, The Löyly is kind of itchy hard at the beginning people are bending down and put their head between their knees to protect the hears and the brain from burning (i had to get up and switch level which almost never happened to me), but at the end when the stones got colder from the liter and litres of water they got, the Loyla is Soft and nice on the skin.
After the Sauna, I realised Pete is the Sauna Meister of the Rajaportin, he is the one in charge to preheat the Sauna and take care of it till the end 22:00. We discuss a bit and he invites me to an other place where he works, at a camping place called „Wake Valley“, he wants to organise an event next day with an other Sauna and mine, sicne i have 2 more days before heading to Sauna Ajot i accept and follow him and we drive to his place (he is Mobile, and lives in a Bus)
Thursday 27th of July / Ylinen 0km / 3 Saunas (Camion Sauna + Savu Sauna+ Tilau Sauna)
Wake Valley is the place I’ve been invited to, it’s a cable-pulled Wakeboard lake camping, with a wonderful Lake and a special Savu Sauna !
Savu Sauna (Smoke Sauna)
11:00 in the Morning, Pete starts to Heat up the Savu Sauna from the „Wake Valley“. The savu sauna is a Smoked Sauna, so basically you have one or two stoves in the room, many many stones on it, and no smokestack or exhaust to bring the smoke out of the room. At the beginning of the process which takes around 5 Hours, you turn the oven on, open the windows and the doors and let the Fire burn, and play with many parameters in a surgical precision. (Size of the wood pieces, amount of wood, how many air you let in, how far you let the door Open), It is a really dangerous process for many reasons. That’s why the „Sauna Meister“ ALWAYS need to sit right beside the door and have a direct look to the oven. If you give to much air and flames, they would come out the Oven and burn the Sealing of the Sauna, if you let too less fire and air, Carbon Monoxide is produced and could make the room explode. This kind of Sauna is strictly forbidden in Germany, because of those risks, but in Finland no, the well experimented Pete could manage it with brio, and also took the time to explain me how it works.
Experience of Finnish Sauna in my Own Sauna
I also activated my Sauna, i had a really good spot right beside the lake ! My sauna was ready at 15:00 and my first guests were 8 Kids from 8 to 12, who actually really showed me how the Finnish people are making Sauna ! I just put a Bucket with some Birch branches and water in the Sauna room and the kids knew exactly how to manage it, not too much, not too less, no ritual, no hierarchies, no „Saunameister“ making the German towel thing in the Sauna, no special flavour on the „Loyla water“, just straight and easy, thank to those kids i had the best (and i mean it) first Sauna experience in my own Sauna ! The #1 Rule in the Finnish Sauna (the only one actually, except the ones from the „Finnish Sauna Society“ I will talk about later) is that the person who put water on the Stones has no right to leave the room before at least one other person. That teaches you how to manage it so it is bearable for you too, fix your own rule for the Loylä and not trying to kill the others putting too much water and exiting the room before.. Smart, smooth and nice. Also, before that day I never used so much water on my stones, i was always thinking the room would turn too Humid, or break the interior of my lovely „Camion Sauna“, but actually, this is exactly what i need to do to make it nice and smooth, put small amounts of Water in short amount of time, so the stones cannot cool down too fast and are not too hot and the steam has not this itchy effect on the ears and the tits (which some people like but well), So thank you kids ! Afterwards some grown-ups came, and i had the pleasure to meet some really nice People, like Joonas, Michka, Veikko and his wife Alexander, and a lot of other people, who told me a lot of nice things about the Sauna, some stories, how i could make it better, and so on, this was a really nice and tutorial evening.
Das Versagen des „German Aufgusses“
About the „German Aufguss“, I taught it would be nice for a cultural aspect to show the Finnish people how the „Saksaiset Löylyt“ happens, how i make it in general and how people (me Included) like it in Germany, I tried.. really I mean it, but it didn’t work out, because you break a lot of habits they have. First, everybody comes in an out when they want, they don’t care about time. Second, they don’t care about being silent, since Finnish people ( In General) are silent and not talkative all the time EXCEPT in the Sauna, and third, they don’t consider that if you keep the door opened for a too long time you are menaced by death penalty (which has been abolished in Germany luckily, if not many people would have been executed already after the „Close the dooooor“ unanimity screamed sentence). They just compensate the lack of heat with some decent amount of water on the stones. So me (as a Sauna Meister) take the control of the water, I should put more water, and break the increasing of the „Aufguss Climax“ that the German People expect when they go to the Sauna, but the Finnish People don’t care about that. So really nice to see how it works here, I learned a lot and may change my habits back to Germany..
Friday 28th of July / Ylinen – Teuva – Parra 210km / 50 Saunas !
Finally I made it ! TEUVA !!! After 5 Year of Building the truck I motherland for my sauna truck ! Teuva is a Little city, with 6000 habitants, all the trucks, tractors, ambulances, telefonecells, Light-towers are meeting right beside the city centre and start the big parade through the city, to end up at the Lake beside the Parra Montain ! An Orchestra is playing traditional Music on a platform Trailer to celebrate the 100th Year of Finland (Before it was just a Strategic piece of Land which had direct access to the Baltic See the Swedish Army and the Russian Tsar were punching on each others face for, with some inhabitants speaking a language they couldn’t understand)!
What is the Teuvalla Sauna Ajot Festival ?
As usual in Finland, the idea of the Festival started with a joke :
- „Hey, we are 10 friends, let’s organise a mobile Sauna festival !“
- „Hahaha, that’s a good one !“
- „but actually why not ?“
So they put a little word in the local newspaper, and found out that some people from the other cities around also have mobile Saunas, so the met and made the first event ! those were the first steps of the Sauna Ajot !
Now we arrive at the lake of the Parra Mountain for the 11th Edition of the Festival, I just decide to keep my Sauna Closed, and to be a tourist for the First evening, no guests are here, only the people who came with their own Saunas are here, so it’s really intimate. Nice to know a lot of people which already know each others from the previous years and know each other well from the years before. No doubt that this Festival brought a lot of people together, the first years just from the neighbourhood, but know from all Finland (Helsinki / Oulu ) and also International ! (This year from Poland -Polnoc SaunaTruck, Italy with the Sauna Tent and me of course ).
First evening trying different Saunas
Finish hospitality is endless, and i recognize in every person who came with a Sauna the same spirit of being host and guest at the Same time and to celebrate in, to start a conversation you just have to make a stupid Joke about any situation, and a never ending talking starts, I mean, it would be quite surprising if a person building a mobile sauna wouldn’t like jokes.. but anyway i spend a good raining evening, jumping from one Sauna to the next one, trying out some 120° sauna (Transit Sauna), some Tent Saunas (Tellta Sauna from Toivakka), a Military Truck Sauna (Saunanturvajoukot), the Ambulancy Sauna (Saunalanssi) and many many others ! This evening 15 Sauna, and no „German Aufguss“, that’s why it’s easy to go in, enjoy the time and the talks, and leave for a swim to the water, going to the next one and so on, great atmosphere ! I slept really good in my „Cold“truck
Saturday 29th of July / Parra 0km / 65 Saunas !
Finnish weather is really surprising, i woke up early, the truck was shaking, because of the wind and the heavy rain, and two hours after, the sun came out, and started to shine like crazy. The first guests arrived, and after having preheated the Sauna for 2 Hours (I switched from 1 hour to two hours after some suggestions from some people from Ylinen), and it worth it ! it’s good to leave the door Open a good half an hour after the oven starts.
Finnish Sauna Way against German Efficiency
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make a list of things which are not cool in German Sauna culture, but it’s good to see and to realise that for some reasons, there are some cultural differences and to realise that the things which might be considered as problem from the ones, are actually significant solutions for the others. The heat efficiency is one of them : When I Build my Sauna i really took as absolute rule number one, not to lose any heat, so my isolation process was really intense taking really care of every little hole which could have resulted to energy loss. That’s how I did grow, that’s how it in in the country i live, and that’s how people do and think for Buildings, Vans and Campers and so on, but for Sauna it’s not necessary at all to think this way. The Best Saunas i had this Week end were the ones which had a really clumsy isolation, sometimes even huge holes in the walls, or 2cm space between the Wood pieces on the wall. For the Finnish Purpose with the regular Loylä it’s perfect, the air circulates, and the heat is regulated from the Water you put on the stones, the amount of wood (and the size according of the wood quality) you put in the Stove, the size of the stones you have on your stove and so on.. and nobody cares about how much wood they put in their stove. This is also really not necessary when you are in Finland where trees are growing everywhere, but maybe a bit more when your sauna relies on a nuclear power plant electricity.. so yes, big air circulation !
How many Persons in a Sauna ? Quality instead of quantity..
In my Sauna, when people asked me how many people are fitting i always said 10-12 people, and in Germany for the „Aufguss“ 10-12 people feel confortable in the Sauna when i make. But in Teuva, People went in and out of my Sauna all the time, and in the afternoon, they started to make a line to enter the Sauna, so i Felt kind of proud of course that soooo many persons waited to enter my sauna, and at some point i checked how many persons were sitting inside the Room, and there were just 8-9 People maximum, almost Nobody was sitting on the Lower Bench, which is one of the Rules of the Finnish art of building a Sauna : No Feet should be under the Stone Level (where you put the water on), and not more than two fists between where you and the ceiling. The temperature gradient is really huge from the floor to the stone level, and really small from stone level to the ceiling. So the Finnish people rather wait outside the door, than sitting on the Lowest bench. Interesting again…quality instead of quantity.
About looking at people entering and coming out the Sauna.
One of the biggest satisfaction i have with my creation, is to see how people look after the Sauna, some are talkative, some not, some are sweating like crazy or not, but that doesn’t matter. I always find the look of the persons interesting. This is the one pleasure I have doing the German Aufguss, but it’s also a similar feeling i had on sitting on a bench outside and looking at the hundreds of persons entering the Sauna and coming out of it right after. The eyes were wide open, the view clear, the concentration big, complete contrast to the short moment of suffering they could have showed in the Sauna right after having put the water on the stones, and the release, the moment when people keep silent because of the tension and then le releasing moment. Where is the pleasure in the suffering is interesting, at what point did the little 9-11 year old kids learn that it’s OK to suffer a bit, afterwards you will feel great, this is really interesting, and makes me think a lot about the cultural condition and meanings of pain and pleasure, and about religion too.. (Damn, now you know what’s going on in my head when i make the German Aufguss 🙂
Sauna Ajot Crazyness
It’s hard to tell how crazy this event was, how many lovely new persons i met, how much input i had those almost 48 hours of Sauna passionated discussions In english, I didn’t understand nothing in Finnish except the words „Sauna“, „Loylä“ „Kiitos“ (thank you, they told me after the sauna) and „Parras Sauna“ (I asked what Parras means and they told me it means „best Sauna“) and I felt really proud about that ! If the Finnish people think my Sauna is fucking Parras, then i’m fucking happy 🙂 some pictures will tell you more and better about this 🙂
Sunday 30th of Juli / Parras-Teuva-Kaskinen : 45km / 1 Sauna
This have been a really crazy first week of travelling, meeting new persons, discovering so much different things and processes, persons, I feel I need to rest in a place for one day, with nobody, and my friend Pete told me he new a good camping, on a small Island close to the cost and we should go there, to be in calm a bit, i really liked that idea. After having turned on the Sauna for a few hours in the Morning, all the participants of the festival started to head to their home again, and i started to pack my stuff, to fold the roof balcony, to fill some water tanks, released and happy about the idea of having a little moment of piece, enjoying a little barbecue, with no spectacular action stuff, to process all the things I’ve seen those last 8 Days, happy to follow this plan.
After having said goodbye and exchanged the last visit cards, I started the engine and followed Pete with his bus.. when .. I Told you at the beginning, that the story might and with some problems, here we go..
The Fall and the rise of the
Phoenix Blue Elefant
I was Driving 50km/h to let the engine get warm as usual, so really easy peezy speed, and i saw this grandma driving a bicycle, so i went on the left lane of the road. The roads in Finland are not so flat as i know them in Germany or France or wherever, they are more bend, so high in the middle and low on the side, so if you pass from the right lane (trucks is slightly bend to the right) to the left lane (truck slightly bend to the left) you have to be careful because there is one point where the balance is changing side, one reason more to drive only 50 on this road, and the stuff happens what they teach you at the truck driving school : “ If you fall asleep while you are driving and make an accident, and the police is asking, just say you were driving and a fly went into your eye and you lost control“.. Well, and what if you were driving and a fly really went in your eye and hurt so much that you really lost control, and crashed your truck you have been building for 5 Years ? You don’t say nothing, to nobody, you start to scream and to cry, and to shake like crazy and to fall in a shock state for at least 15mn. After I lost control, the truck went on the right side of the road, fall on the side, and slide for about 10m before it stopped moving. I looked inside the truck and started to scream, everything fell of his initial position, the truck was on the side, my 5 Years dream was just like that broken, in 5 seconds.. I quickly turned of the engine, jump out the truck turned the gas bottle off, and just sit on the floor and started crying, I tried to roll a cigarette but couldn’t, I was shaking so much, I just saw how slowly the grandma was approaching with her bicycle, there was nothing to say. The next car approached and the didn’t even call the police, they just called a Tractor, not even 5mn the first tractor was here i didn’t even realised what happen a part of the solution was already engaged, with one tractor from the side we couldn’t make it so they called a second tractor, all private persons, no official police, no fireman, just people from Teuva organising themselves to help me, in less than on hour, the truck was standing on the road again, I tried to start the engine again, and it worked perfectly. The Complete right side of the truck was scratched, the mirror broken, and the side door also, mechanically everything seemed to be normal ok, So we decided to drive ahead a public place close to the centre, so I could take the stuff out the truck and try to repair things.
The Finnish way to help out
On the way to there, we met the „Bus Sauna“ persons i was talking to the day before, and they brought me to there workshop, the boss of the workshop came and in a little time, more than 10 People were helping to get off the stuff of the truck, clean my clothings which went dirty from the fridge opening, to bend back the doors, to change the broken mirrors and so on and so on, there was a crazy wave of solidarity. I asked everybody if they want to have a beer or drinks or wine or whatever i still had in the truck which didn’t break in the crash, the all said no, even the Truck mechanic didn’t want any money for the mirror, „He comes from so far away and he has a sauna“. I felt really useless and grateful, and also really wasted out and tired at the same time.. At the end he asked me if I want to get the mud of the wheels, so it’s not looking so shitty.. even then he kept a sense for aesthetic..
Still the truck is not perfect but now it drives and is safe again, the Sauna is (almost) not damaged and can be used ! … and i will continue my trip to the next stops, but for now I need to get some rest, the good thing with human body, the scars are fixing themselves, the truck will need more attention and time to look nice again..
Next Stops :
- 02.08 : @ Verket (Umeå)
- 03-05.08 : @ Urkult Festival (Näsåker)
- 07-08.08 : @ Surfbukten (Östersund)
- 09-11.08 : @ Hoverberg Art Festival (Hoverberg)
- 13-14.08 : Yoga And Market @ Cul de Sac (Stockholm)
- 18.08 : @ Lake (Dalby)
- 19.08 : @ tbc (Malmö)
PART TWO : Sweden
Monday and Tuesday 31th of July, 1st of August / Kaskinen – 0 Sauna
May you could read it in the last page „Finland : part 1“ about the Start of the Tour in Finland, after all those beautiful moments, I had a serious truck crash, nobody go injured except of my confidence and some pieces of metal and wood. I feel like explaining you the process of my „healing“ before going on the road again, and telling you what I’ve learned on my trip
About managing and dealing with a stressful situation, afterwards..
Finaly after those kind of stressful moments I realised there are many ways of getting over a Situation like that, of course mine was the best 🙂 Even though afterwards it’s kind of easy to realise stuff like “How lucky I went, everything will be fine, don’t worries, those are just material things”, or maybe to get a proper Interpretation about things like “Finally I also experimented the finish helpfulness” or the “It had to happen” thing, in that really moment it’s hard to deal with it. For me to hear “It will be OK” or people trying me to help me talking to the future wasn’t helping at all. The pain was there, the shock is present, in this very moment, and talking about future is a process that only opens slowly again after having accepted the present. I didn’t exclude the fact that I tried to get over it telling me that to myself really often also to convince myself, but when it came from the outside I just couldn’t hear it.
So how to do to deal with it ?
Syndromes about my post-traumatic experience : I had some nightmare of my truck crashing 3 nights long / Sometimes in the day, I realised I was talking loud saying “Shit Shit Shit”, and when I spoke loud I realised I was daydreaming about the accident / In the day I couldn’t concentrate, I was really tired / when I drove I was visualising the accident a lot
My solutions ? Talk to nobody, have some rest, watch movies, organise my truck again, cook.
Is it really possible to help somebody in this position ? (or me at least)
After two days on just staying at the same spot, don’t driving, looking outside through my window, I finally could see a bit an other present, and felt the changes of willing another present again, and the will to go forward. My friend MyKey is a really skilful person for those kind of situations, it was great visiting her afterwards, and having some phone calls with her : she just accepted what happened, and had full understanding of the situation, and had a nice balance, just involving me in nice things. Even if it’s hard to feel understood in those sitution, it’s sweeter and faster to recover if people have some compassion..
After some days, the nightmares went less, I still have a bad feeling driving the truck on small roads, I lost some confidence in my driving skills, and I often visualize a Truckcrash when I look at the right side of the road, so I feel my neck and my back get stressed from driving, but after some km driven, it’s getting better and better. One thing is sure, fear of driving gets transformed into respect for the road. (we talked a lot about that with Max from Uppströms, he crashed a truck on some Swedish roads too ; “Shitty feeling huh?” he said, I approved..you will learn to know him soon 🙂
OK, Back on tracks !
I leave the little city of Kaskinen, and head to Vaasa to take the Ferry. I got the really bad habit to expect everything perfect from myself and from the others, so you can believe I didn’t feel “that good” driving a damaged truck. MyKey told me “Scars are sexy”, I really understood what she meant but I was also thinking “ fucking hell, it’s not a scar, it’s a blue eye somebody got for being punched in the face, it doesn’t feel sexy yet, it’s painful! Can you think somebody is sexy if he has a blue eye because this somebody just just got kicked violently in the Face? NO!!” ..but at some point I accepted she was right 🙂
So yep, heading to Vaasa to take the ferry, the whole Finnish coast is crowded by people talking Swedish, even thaugh they could speak Finnish, some of them just refuse to do it, a kind of cultural heritage from the times Finnland use to be pulled back and forth between Sweden and Russia, I don’t judge, I just realised that if you try to say “Moi” (Hi in Finnish), the people answer “Hey Hey” (Hi in Swedish)
Finaly I took the Ferry to Umea, and arrived by night at “Verket”. On the way out the ferry, the Fog came out and spread all over the dark fields, it wasn’t possible to tell if it’s a lake or just a field, it gave a really hazy and dreamy atmosphere to the road leading to Umea.
Wednesday 2nd of August / Umea – 1 Sauna (and one swimming pool)
Jag är i Umeå, pronounced “yoäréüméo”(I’m in Umeå), when somebody says it loud it sounds like a famous Tirol Jodl. Umeå is a Town with some really low houses and constructions, some traditional, and some more concrete, but really calm and quiet, you can reach the river really easily to jump in the Water..
Niki organised this event at Verket tonight, It’s the first time I’m heating up for public since the crash, so I’m a bit worried and excited, but Nikki and MyKey helped me a lot to prepare the evening ! So we had 3 Bands playing on 3 different spots (Lovisa & John on the Skateboard ramp, „Gravedigger and the Teachers“ one in the Garden and „Meike and the Flamin’gods“ on the rooftop of the Camion !) and in the same time the sauna was running and people could jump in the Pool ! It was a really great and cosy atmosphere
The Swedish way of doing the Sauna … seems to be really different from the Finish style, it’s much more quiet, and people use way less water than in Finland, so I could not figure out yet if it’s because they prefer it dry, or if it was too warm for them already and they don’t want to make more steam, or maybe they just feel shy of taking over the responsibility of putting water on the stones, anyway, I had a little bit more chance to try to make a German Aufguss, and people didn’t look too shocked, so maybe the Swedish style is closer to the German style ? Let’s see 🙂
Thursday 3rd till Sunday 6th of August : Urkult Festival (Nassäker) – 2 Saunas
When I heard about the Festival and saw the bands playing there I felt I would try to go there. And since it was on my way south (more or less) I got in contact with Max from the Üppströms café and camping close to the festival. Some people told me it would be an amazing festival, and some people would just go there and stay in the camping because the atmosphere would be so nice.
So I called Max some weeks before, and he told me it “I already have a Sauna, but come with yours it will be great ! And I have a good spot for you right beside the café ! I also can make the Booking and the reservation for your sauna if you want !” I was just thinking : this guy might have not understood me well : I will go to his camping, make concurrence to his own sauna, and he will help me to make even more concurrence ? 🙂 But it was not like that, Max is just an amazing great and open hearted person, he liked the nice potential and the crazy project of the Camion Sauna, and wanted to support it, and gave me some space for a few days to unfold my Sauna and catch some people !
Duality between Booked Sauna and “No-Reservation Sauna”
At the same time his sauna (based on reservation and Pre-Booking) run, and mine too (based on no-reservation and donations). So the way to get the Saunas were really different, and so the sauna-guests too. Some of them tried both saunas yes, but mainly it turned into a kind of “closed circle of friends Sauna” VS “Everybody chills out together and learn to know each other Sauna”.
Mirror : good technique how to get a picture from the „right side of your damaged Truck“
Good feelings when the Donation system works good..
I always feel good when I realise this “donation” thing is working good. Not only because I make some cash which is great also to travel, but also because it makes me feel that the people who tried my sauna are also aware of what it means building a sauna, what it costs to run it, to travel with it, and the support they offer is great. I’m not judging people who are not donating, this is the part of the deal also to have the possibility not to give a lot if you cannot afford it, so somebody will give more and it will cover the costs, but if feels good when persons are donating for your work. OR maybe I’m completely in this hippie thing and I didn’t consider that in Sweden people just have more money in general and that’s why they don’t feel so bad about donating some Krone for a good Sauna.. Tell me if I’m blind, I cannot see it 🙂
About walking home at 3.AM over the bridge.. almost daylight..
About The Urkult Festival..
The location of this event is just amazing, the big stage is just on the top of a mountain surrounded by trees, and water everywhere. I asked where to get drinking water, and Max answered “You are in Nässäker, there is ONLY drinking water”, the festival relies a lot about the Volunteer, so if you help for 12 hours (on the 4 days) you come for free to the festival, I think this is the fairest conditions I heard till now, really nice ! (12 hours is not much, according to the fact that you can get some free food at the “Personal Fiket”, meet some nice people in your group, and enter for free to the festival). The Food crew of the “Personal Fiket” was amazing, I had the Chance to try some really tasty things, but more than a canteen, the” Personal Fiket” was more a meeting point, and after the Saturday’s last concert, a Jam Session started at 2am till 8 in the morning ! Crazy ! (It was already bright day at 3am.. the nights are short).
About the Spirit of the Festival, I would say “Grown-Up Hippies meeting kids / No Commercial Event / No Trash after the visitors went / Black Culture appropriation in somehow / And a lot of Woman on Stage (50% from the bands had a front-woman)”
Sunday late afternoon, I took some persons I met at the “Fiket” and we drove with the truck to Östersund together, goodbye countryside, beautiful river and Max.
When I Arrived in Östersund on sunday at 21:00, I had „the Specials“ song “Ghost town” running in my head, it really felt like that. Some buildings, empty streets even in the Restaurant area (which almost all closed at 20:00). It wouldn’t be that shocking I guess if the city would have been smaller, or if it would have been dark, but since it was still really bright, I had a weird feeling..
My codrivers Hanna, Hedda and James invited me for a nice Pizza after we walked a long time to find an open restaurant… I don’t why it feels so good to eat some Junk food after eating three days of healthy food, but fact is, it’s great.. A had a similar weird feeling when I went to Senegal, and I suddenly needed to drink coca cola there, even though I never drink coke at home normally…
Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th of August – Surfbukten (Östersund) – 4 Saunas
Östersund is a city build beside the 3rd big Lake in Sweden, and Surfbukten is a place on the non-crowdy side of the bridge heading to a small half Island. On Monday I finaly went to meet Simon the manager of the place Surfbukten.
When he arrived in this little bay on the other side of the “Main Side” 7 years ago, there was nothing and nobody wanted to hang out there, it was too far away from the center. So he decided to put his little caravan there and to follow his vision : to make a nice place, opened to everybody, with some outdoors activities and events, to create a meeting point for people. In somehow I could recognise myself in his Open minded attitude, his tenacity, and his skills to create something starting from zero, just following his instinct. I discovered a guy who likes to follow a crazy idea, and even makes it bigger, and this with a lot of heart. Even though I have to admit I’m not really into the Surf culture, the place is more than that (I saw a lot of refugee kids playing volleyball there, families having a birthday party, kids making Wakeboarding), it’s possible just to have a place to stay without paying money, meeting people, the world needs more places like that.
The Surfbukten Saunathon
So the Sauna evenings went great, Simon had set some other Saunas ! He just bought some Sauna Tents, the one used from the Russian army, and made the “Saunathon”, like, trying the first Sauna, jumping into the water, to swim to the second one, than some stand-up paddle boarding heading to the third sauna, and after the 4th Sauna, you could get some food and some alc free drinks 🙂 Nice and funny Idea ! Some people enjoyed it a lot ! Thank you simon for having set up the Event !
A Little Surprising was the TV and newspaper crew who knocked on my door the next morning.. I hoped it would be Simon with some breakfast, or coffee but it wasn’t, they were already filming when I opened the door just wearing my underwear.. Simon had a good understanding of the situation and brought me some coffee to make my brain work for the Interviews.. It helped 🙂
If you want to read some Swedish about me go for it :
Loppis / Analogue by-pass of Ebay..
In Sweden and especially in Östersund, I discovered the Loppis (2nd hand shop), the concept is easy, you go to a place and rent an empty shelf for one Week or longer, and you can put the things you want to sell, and the people sell it for you. Sometimes bigger places and more like a shopping mall, sometimes smaller like a basement from private persons. You can see a lot of those “Loppis” signs on the side of the road, it seems to be really common, even if internet and some 2nd hand online websites, facebook groups or other things have been really present for many years in Sweden now, I like those kind of Analog by-passes ! Let’s see how many years they will still survive, but still since is it most of the time some private persons having junk from the neighbours in their basement, it’s not correlated with a lot of profit and big rental place to pay anyways, so it might be staying for longer..
Wednesday 9th and Saturday 12th of August – Hoverberg – 2 Saunas
When I finally decided to get Instagram to share some pictures, and have „a little“ internet presence, the meta data generators turned crazy and the suggested me to an „@artsauna“ to my friends, I was thinking who the fuck are you Instagram to tell me who is my friend..“, so i kind of ignored it but stilll i checked the profile. Anton is an artist living in Stockholm who loves Sauna.. After a while my friend Zosen from Spain, told me „Hey Jerome, with your mobile sauna truck you should meet me friend Anton from Stockholm“.. so the coincidence was too big, and I decided to write him to meet him, since my tour was passing through Stockholm. Actually he invited me to come with my truck to the little village of Hoverberg where him and 3 other guys were supposed to do some spray art in the biggest cave of Sweden, not so far from Östersund.ing
So I came there to meet them, and we had a really nice time, just chilling, talking, taking sauna and giving free Sauna for the habitants of Hoverberg.
So for some days, my truck was parked with the Sauna trailer #artsauna from Anton,it’s good to have a little community for some day, having good saunas in the evening 🙂
Gratis Bastu : when not trying something still inspires..
Well, the Idea about offering the Free sauna was to make the people meet and to talk a bit, we went hosted at the Marina, closed to the main camping. The Persons felt really shy, and even though some of them tried the Sauna, it was still considered as a piece of art and as a testimony „how crazy can the world be“, more than „Great a sauna, let’s try“, but even that was really fine and nice and made a lot of people talk about it, it opens a lot of peoples mind to see something different, even though they are not trying it. Maybe that’s one of the greatest things too, people don’t need to try something to get inspired of it. Even though I’m a practical person, and I would always prefer to try things out to get inspired and to feel some energy, I recognised it’s great to have a philosophical source of inspiration.
About refugees and solidarity
I really noticed it in Sweden, even in little villages like Hoverberg, the solidarity and the help shown by the local people is huge towards refugees. The People who run the Cafe close to the camping were helping the two Somalian girls to make a little business with their cooking skills, or also the made a meeting point for some young refugee guys so they could have a barbecue close to the lake, make a nice grill in the afternoon, spreading some blankets on the grass and just chill, this is kind of really generous even though you don’t expect this from the village people because some of them act really shy.. That’s not so hard in Sweden to offer some space to somebody, since there is a lot of space, but to offer some public and private space already in use from locals is way more grateful. I was trying to imagine how it would be in a small village in France or Germany, I should check it out one day again..
The Art festival of Hoverberg (still has no name)
This was the first year some local persons tried to make this project start and grow, so they didn’t have any name for that and asked for the public to put some suggestions into a mail box.
The spraying didn’t take place on the rocks directly, but on heavy boards of plumb, good and solid material to paint on it, doesn’t react with the wet stones, and good also to hammer on to make it fit on the rocks. So the paintings canvas will get pressed on the rock to make them fit there for at least one year until the next edition of the festival.
About the Epa (or Triangle cars)
I was wondering when I was driving the truck, why some cars (even though they look powerful, live Volvos are just driving 30km/h on an open road ! I was thinking first it might me a grandpa or grandma driving, but when I passed the car i could see young kids driving ! So either they are completely stoned and feel like they are driving 100km/h and actually just drive 30km/h.. BUT NO ! there is a better explanation ! Those cars have been transformed to drive maximal 30km/h, and they fixed an orange Triangle on the back and the car, and so they don’t need any driving licence and can drive from 15 years old ! This sounds a bit like crazy to me, but actually why not, maybe it’s not so dangerous that driving a little scooter with 14 years old, and give the kids to move a bit between the different villages and give them a mobility possibility, great too.
So Great concept,, t’ill I met those 3 guys !! They just arrived and parked their really big Scania Truck, modified to be an Epa ! Crazy !
Leaving Hoverberg to reach Stockholm and Malmö was making feel like the end of the trip slowly approaches. I chose to drive a regular road and not the highway, the way is shorter and slower, there are no many cars, and even if the road is kind of bad, it is good to feel that the fear of driving decreases km after km, it’s a great satisfaction to get to drive with pleasure again while you drive across lake landscapes and empty spaces, it helps a lot to relax. The long trip made me arive in Stockholm at 1:00 in the morning, everything was dark again, except of the social room of the Båtklubb, Jene waited for me playing an Untuned guitar, telling me some stories about the Snake he saw the day before, the Motorcycle accident he had and after some beers, we got lost in Translation and I went to bed finaly 🙂
Sunday 13th and Monday 14th of August – Café cul-de-sac (Stockholm) – 2 Saunas
It’s always magical waking up in a place you arrived at by night, you can feel where you are the night before of course you could see some details in the dark, but the daylight gives a ensemble view, every detail gets sharper and all the details connect together with or without any sense.
About details getting connected together
When I arrived at the café cul-de-sac by night I could only see a place to park my truck close to the water and nothing more. Louise, the owner of Café cul de sac, put a lot of good intentions in organising details of her café, every little object placed anywhere just communicate good with the others. Every object and accessories have a good visual, aesthetical or/and practical function at the same time. Just practical is boring, just aesthetical feels not convenient sometimes, and visually good, also means like you feel in a museum, and doesn’t feel like you want to create anything
This proportional and organic way to dispose items, make me feel like the person have a good balance and interest of positioning herself in the little world she created, and I feel really good being in a place like that, and close to those kind of persons. From a photographic point of view, I would say that „any object you want to photography have a correspondent or something which make a repeal in the background somewhere“, and if lenses would allow to take a picture having really closed foreground and really far background on focus at the same time you could have on the same picture two objects that communicate good with each other. Do you get me ? 🙂 excuse my french..
Louise and the Café Cul de Sac – A semi-nomadic way to live
I really liked the way Louise is proceeding with her Café : She started the Cul de sac 6 years ago, and she stays at the boatclub place for 3 Month in the Summer (there is space because the boats are on the water and not onlands) she makes a beautiful spot for a few month a years and then packs everything together again, and continues her life, takes care of her family and gives more to other aspect of her life for the rest of the year. I could identify myself in her also, she needs to do things and to be 100% on something for a short time, and she changes again after a few month. It’s a kind of „Semi-Nomadic“ way to live not even geographically, but also in the way to process in your life and to deal with things. She inspired me a lot !
So Louise made up this event and organised a Tent where people could just do massage and chill, and people could just go from Sauna to massage to Terrace and to the water !it was really nice making this event right beside the boat club, a lot of different people met on the same spot ! Anton (#artsauna) started his Sauna too, and we spend a really good day together, I felt happy again just checking the happy relaxed faces of the people walking out the Saunas !
Tuesday 15th of August – Stockholm-Malmö – 600km – 0 Sauna
After those two wonderful days on land and water, I spent a whole day on wheels again driving from Stockholm to Malmö. My friend Vroni from Berlin joined me on those kilometers. And even though the 600 km took us 11 hours , It felt like we had a good time and we made a world revolution in hour head for a few hours, we talked about everything, mainly politics.. It’s good to speak in a language you feel familiar with (German)
About using a third language
One of the nice things I realised on this tour, is that my English (even if it’s a really crappy English) is a perfectly fine tool to communicate in a country where English is not the Mothertongue. It’s always great to use a third language to communicate and to exchange when you travel. It offers the host and the guest the possibility to get closer to the guest and the opposite also, it creates a neutral meeting point, without a scale. The type of conversation also gets different somehow more neutral and interesting. It seems important to me, since I can make a parallel with my mobile sauna, visiting people, trying to make this exchange horizontal (being host and guest at the same time)..at least in some countries where English is recognised as useful and where the people understand the necessity of learning a foreign language. It is really convenient to be in Scandinavia for that reason, one day I will drive to Balkans with my truck, and I kind of know English will not be spoken so much and so universally..
Wednesday 16th – Saturday 19th of August – Malmö – 1 Sauna
Kontrapunkt Malmö / Ribberborgstranden 17th of August
Kontrapunkt is one of the structures who tries to make political activism, on a really concrete way, on a street level, and vertically also. They have a bicycle workshop, a Screenprint workshop, some Computer clubs, dance Room and different other activities room, could provide some warm food for homeless people last winter and some places to rest a bit for refugees two years ago, and used culture and music as a way to get money to support their action. The whole concept made totally sense to me, since I visited the place for the first time 4 Years ago. things changed, the people developed their interests and always kept on focus, that even if it’s hard sometimes to talk and to deal with different cultures, and characters, it always worth it. So instead of getting uniformed, white man/woman middle class, Kontrapunkt is really open and always struggles for communication and exchanges on different levels, as well for small groups as for big groups, local and global. For my experience of Houseprojects and collectives it is the Structure that works the bests and nade great things without forgetting to question the directions and the way to get where you are heading at ! Since a few month they are not only fighting for others, but for themselves also.. because of some Location problems, they had to stop some of their activities, and started a big solidarity campaign (read more on their website) Since they are working a lot, MyKey suggested to make a small sauna event for the persons of the main crew of Kontrapunkt, so they could chill out and meet in an other context than work at the beach of Ribberborgstranden. Team building is something great and helps to get over some tensions, glad my Sauna was part of it for a good cause 🙂
Celebrating the last day.. 18th of August – Malmö Klangshamnstranden
One Day before taking the ferry back to Berlin, we had a casual sauna evening with some friends at Klangshamnstranden, we just had a chilled out evening with an amazing barbecue and Jam Sessions, some people I already met at the Urkult Festival came also, it feels good to see some „Old New faces“ again.
About processing and analysing the „results“ of a non-quantifiable and non-mesurable project. (except of the km driven and the Fuel consumed)
It was a great evening, and also I started to process a bit all the things I experimented, all the situations I went in, what happened on a human level, to me and to the others, and I had solid and devoted nice talks about economic growth and the french „Décroissance“ that Stéphane Hessel tried to explain. I felt like giving to peoples a place to have a Sauna, which is timeless, non-productive and non mesurable made me kind of an actor of this way to think. So that’s why I’m really enthousiastic about one of the next event I will take part : the Unframed Festival in Berlin (2-5 Nov), the topic of this festival is this „décroissance“, I really encourage you to take part of it !
Next Events :
25-27. August : Plötzlich am Meer festival
13-15. October : FIT Sauna Clash
2-5. November : Unframed Festival