Here we go, after almost one Year, and the last Sauna Tour I Made in Finland and Sweden,
The “Camion Sauna“ was on Tour again !
This time the main subject of this trip will not be to learn a lot about the Sauna Culture (even though I always learn a lot about it).. I mean it will not be an intensive research about sauna like I did when I was in Finland and Sweden last year, but more about exploring the effects of Sauna in (really) different contexts and situations, No sauna evening is the same, and so no sauna guest neither. From Wagenplatz (Place where people regrouped in communities live in trucks and Trailers in an area sometimes rented, sometimes squatted, sometimes owned), Trance Music Festival, non-profit Art Festivals to Climbing places the Spectrum of people and intentions will be wide. Ready for the Analysis ? It took me almost two Month to write it down, but here we go ! Hope you will enjoy !
Facts : 2890km / 27 Days / 13 Sauna Evenings / 614L Diesel / A Lot of People
0// 21.06 / Berlin / km 0 / 0 sauna
Before the Start : getting used to the idea of being alone without intimacy
This time before the starting, I didn’t have so much things to prepare, the truck was set, the motor oil got changed and the little mechanical adjustments also. The main setting up was more like separating the “Sauna things” and the “Private things”. As I will live for almost 4 Weeks in a reduced Space and open this space to a lot of people, it was really important to me to define how far I feel comfortable just letting my private stuff visible in the truck. Sauna guests will see my wood work, my architecture skills, and decoration taste of course, this is part of the “Open Part” and also part of my personality, right. But they will also see my Books, my toothbrush, my underwear, and so on. (or at least the containers where I hid them). So it’s funny to deal with the facts that I travel alone in a loud box of 12m² and lose a lot of intimacy in the meanwhile.
1// 23.06 / Leipzig / km 177 / 1 Sauna
Sauna and hot weather
The first Stop was kind of spontaneous, I got the confirmation 3 Days before leaving Berlin. Some other places I could have make a nice Sauna evening just cancelled, because they couldn’t imagine to go (or who else would go) to the sauna if the outside temperature is over 32°C. Jakob of Ostbloc and all the Ostbloc Guests can tell how warm it was the 31st of Mai, and how great it felt to go to the sauna (and to go out of the Sauna afterwards:) even when the outside temperatures is stupidly high:) Actually going to Sauna when it’s warm outside has a really cooling effect afterwards, you don’t feel slave of the Outside heat anymore, and you feel fresher that after a cold shower, and this for a really long time..at least the whole evening:) To me it feels like the moment when you smoke a cigarette, and actually you enjoy more the deep breath of Air afterwards then the inhalation of smoke..
Well, Leipzig ! Finally the weather was not that warm and nice this day, and the Sauna was really good to reheat and to regain the heat lost because everybody was still wearing skirts and short pants, and short sleeves. A Friend organised a little event at the “Wasserturm Wagenplatz”. A nice Place that used to be a Car Junk-yard before where trees and common rooms grew quickly after 2 groups of people decided to buy together to live there without having to move from one place from the other, fed up of being only “Tolerated” from the city Leipzig. Leipzig as many different cities in Germany (Berlin for example) is growing, expending, rebuilding, gentrifying, and using every free peace of land or surface has been sold these last years, the way to deal with public space is controversial, and it is definitely not that easy anymore as 15 years ago to just have some free space in the city centre.
Finally the Sauna was a really cosy evening, we shared food, we shared heat and red wine, simply cosy and nice, a great sauna evening, the truck hidden in the middle of the newborn little forest 🙂
2// 24-25. 06 / München / km 610 / 1 Sauna (+ 1 Pool !)
Long Distances and Resting time
After Leipzig, I went on the highway to join Munich, it took me 8 hours to drive 400km, included breaks, I’m really happy I organised the tour like that : 1 Driving Day, 1 Rest day, 1 Sauna Day, but at least one complete day not driving the truck. I Didin’t make the mistake I made for the previous “Tour de France” and “tour de Scandinavie” last year., when I kept on driving and making Sauna, almost without break time and always really long distances in between. Just for you to Understand why I need to rest, here the “Soundtrack of a Saunatour” to o be listened loud. (Recorded by Matthieu Rousseaux)
Munich: OLGA Wagenplatz
It’s the second time I visit OLGA with the Camion Sauna, first time was in february 2017, the weather was cold back then, but now it’s summer and the People prepared a huge pool to jump in after the Sauna ! As you can see on the pictures, the sauna was open to everybody.
About OLGA, it Means “Ohne Lenkrad Geht auch” (you can make it even without a stearing wheel), I was really sad to hear that they will have to move out there actual Space soon.”The Boschetsrieder Str times” are over, at the point I was there they couldn’t tell exactly where they would go afterwards but the OLGA Crew is really well organised, and really mobile. Some have trucks, others have some BDF Containers, some other Trailers and wagon, and everything they’ve been building for years is just easily foldable and always build with a mobility consciousness, which make it really interesting and sexy. Everyone has a private space and private things they will take care alone, and the common Things and Raw-material is really well organised (Pipes, Metal pieces, Wood, bicycle workshop, water organisation) I really enjoyed watching how something temporary can be so much organised. As they move from places to places every few years, they got a routine in organising things : the main organisation and the base are strong and well organised, and allows plenty of variations and gives plenty of flexibility (damn I practised too much Yoga, I start to talk like my Yoga teachers..)
Beside the Boulderhalle Ostbloc, OLGA was the first place I came back with the Camion Sauna, It felt really nice to see some people again, and to discover new ones, when I called them to tell I would come to visit, they told me “You can park at the same spot than last time”, I felt really good to hear that ! Also really weird to feel it’s the last time I would see OLGA at this place, next time I meet the OLGA people it will be somewhere else. It’s a bit more than just meeting a friend in an other bar, you go to see a whole village, a whole organised social and cultural group on an other part of the map ! This feels kind of paradoxal and nice, “nothing is for ever” (damn, again a yoga quote.. I promise next time I quote Motorhead)
3// 27.06-02.07 / Zernez / Burning Mountain Festival / km 940 / 1 Sauna (+ 1 Cold River / Massage Crew / Vegan Food)
The Road : Challenge for the Camion, Motor nerdiness…
Of course I’m on a road trip, so I need to tell you about the road. From Munich the journey continues through Bavaria through Garmisch-Partenkirchen, from where the Road winds up along the slope of the ” Zugspitze Pass”, kind of challenging for the 1974 OM-352 Engine. I checked every levels (Gear Oil, Moor Oil, Axis Oil, Water) and I started to drive up. Maximum Speed was 30 kmH, I felt really glad and grateful for my mechanic who changed the Thermostat of my water pump so it already opens at 70°C (instead of 80°C) and who changed the Cooler net for a more efficient one. I felt kind of afraid of overheating it (last time I Crossed the Pyreneans, the road was not that extreme and it was wintertime, so the weather cooled the engine better), and all the way up I kept my eyes on the temperature needle (well 90% of the time, the other 10% was to focus at the narrow road, to look at the wonderful mountains, to check out the mirror and the Huge line of cars waiting behind me and hating me because of the low speed and the smell of the exhaust..). Finally everything went good and I could go through the mountains to arrive in ZERNEZ !!! It took me 8 hours to drive 250km… (A little break at the Resia Lake in Italy to eat something, get some Sun and have a walk, YEAH I can say that the Camion went to Italy 🙂
Zernez – Burning Mountain Festival & Bali Wellness Crew
Finally I Got there ! The Main reason of my really long Trip is finally right outside ! Surrounded by amazing Mountains , right beside a really cold river flowing down the Glacier, the festival has the most beautiful location I’ve ever been ! When my friend Tal from Berlin asked me if I would be interested in being part of the “Bali Wellness Crew” for the Burning Mountain Festival (Massage, Vegan Food, Yogi Tea, Sauna) I didn’t took me so long to say Yes ! When I arrived at night, Tal and Mattias already had set up the tents for the massage and for selling vegan crepes, coffee and yogi tea, I started to set up my Truck and the little “Garden” the next day, the Festival organisators and “Viktor” from the Psychclean crew provided me some pallets to make it a bit more cosy
Bali Wellness Crew knows how to provide pleasure :=)
Preparing the chill out area outside, Nudity VS Shame VS feeling Welcome
The main interesting about setting the Sauna in a new place is to check out the ambiance, the spot and the people around. I realised it after some festivals, and actually with the Gardelegen Festival Crew in June 2018. We had a really good and constructive phone call with Paula and Torsten, we discussed a lot about how to make a chillout Inviting from the outside and also protective and chilling from the inside. As we have to deal with nudity, and wellness entering the Sauna Area shouldn’t make the guests feel uncomfortable or being stalked at, but also it should not be seen as a Private society event from the people around theBy the Way, the sauna had a birthday on this tour 🙂 320000km 🙂 Yeah !y should feel welcome also to try it spontaneously. According to that, its really important to think the place in term of (temporary) architecture. May some new ideas will come, process is still on 🙂
- The truck already offers a big protection from one side, so I use it as a wall to protect from the to main party (and from the crazy cold wind)
- At Gardelegen festival some bamboos fences
- At Burning mountain some pallets as a little wall for the front (“Gartenzaun” style) and the neighbours tents to close the sides
- the Colour of the Truck, the rooftop terrace the coloured lights bulbs
- Keep the gap to enter gig enough to feel welcome, and small enough to feel Intimate inside
- Using some “restriction objects that feel still inviting” (like the Sauna welcome sign, and some long chairs, you can use to clock and to welcome at the same time)
- A big carpet coming from outside world to the wellness world
The Camion Sauna in a Festival : the light-tower for creative minds
I Felt really Lucky to be there and I felt a real privilege of being between many different worlds ! The visitors of the festival are really different and many different reasons pushed them to come to the Festival (Gathering, meeting people, partying hard, checking out their limits, .. and some also for the Music of course 🙂 but the reasons that came to the Sauna was because it was kind of an Offbeat : the festival was really colourful, stimulating any of the senses, so much input (Music, people, Lightshow, Fluorescent light, and also the smell of the Mountain) and Sauna helped a lot my guests to focus on what they’ve just been living, have a kind of introspection and to share it with some other guests in a peaceful, talkative atmosphere. Many really good discussions occurred, mostly about body work and sharing experiences.
The Finnish Crew at the Burning Mountain Festival
Before the Sauna / After the Sauna
Ice Girl and Iceman :
One of the most impressive thing I’ve discovered was “Wim Hof” and one of his Messenger : Sary from Portugal : This time the water of the Cooling Pool was really Cold ! As we pumped the clear 13° Cold water from the river it was really challenging for the people to enter into it (for me too :). We kept on diving in an out, really quickly just to provide our funny “Hot/Cold” kick, when suddenly we saw Sary, just staying into the cold water for more that 15mn without shaking, without showing any sign of getting cold ! We all kept on admiring the performance, and she kept on telling us it’s possible for everyone to do it. After a lot of admiration of her skills doing it and also admired her skills to convince us to get in the cold bath and try to focus on a deep breathing. Based on a meditation technique, it is possible to EVERYONE to minimise the loss of temperature of the body and to keep the body temperature constant, even in a 13° Water and also in Ice and snow. So we tried ! One after the other we tried to stay in this cold pool, and it felt incredible, first the cold shock, and after 30 seconds, of not moving the water close to the skin creates a kind of “Temperature Filter”, between hot and Cold. So the first impression is to get a bit warmer (may you know this effect), but now comes the important moment : Her Master was “Wim Hof” (check the Documentary about him) and he teaches a respiration technique, inspiring really fully deep, and expiring almost everything but not everything. It’s important to keep some air in the lungs to keep a little flame inside. After trying more and more, we finally achieved to stay longer in the water (5mn without moving), which was already way longer that before, and it felt really good !
Seriously check out this documentary made by Vice Magazine : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaMjhwFE1Zw
After Some lovely days into this amazing landscape and festival, we packed our stuff again, the temporarily build Society dismounted all her rigs, and the endless goodbyes, finally found an end. We kept on the festival area even after the festival.. It felt funny for a nomadic project to have that impression to be for once the “Thing that stays when everything disappears”, normally its the opposite 🙂
4// 03.07 / Rüdlingen am Rhein / We are Saunah / km 1240 / 2 Sauna (+ 1 Cold River “Rhein”/ a Lot of Finnish People)
The Trip, The Road.. Again
When we hit the Road Again, Matthieu, my truck and I and crossed the beautiful mountain of the “fluela pass” between Zernes and Davos, we didn’t expect such a huge Mountain. When we started to go on it, I felt amazed from the beautiful landscape, the light and the cold air and burning sun combination, but also I wasn’t so peaceful with the fact that my beautiful Oldtimer truck would have to face such a big hill. So after 2 km, we realised that the Truck wouldn’t be faster that 20kmh Up-hill, and every since and then we could see a lot of cars parking left and right from the road with opened bonnet, overcooked engine, with the desperate faces of their owners, waiting for the car towing to help them out.. I wished it wouldn’t happen to me, and lucky us, the brave camion sauna made it !!! And I promised that I would not do it again.. By the way it’s the first time I’ve been overtook by a bicycle because I’m too slow 🙂
Arriving at Rüdlingen // Spontaneous Sauna
This event happened through a social network connection, online I met Henri from the “We are Sau Nah” project, and he asked me if I would like to come to visit him, and to make a little “Mobile Sauna” event close to the Rhein River of course I accepted ! The spot was really nice and I realised there would be a lot of Finnish people there too ! Henri is Half-Finnish, that’s why 🙂 So it felt really nice to have a real Finnish atmosphere in my sauna again, almost one year after the “Sauna Ajot” in Teuva, the last time I had sooo many Finnish people in my Sauna ! A lot of water and a lot of heat (and a lot of beer 🙂
Something really rare impressed me about this area. I put a “Sauna” sign close to this little country road and a lot of people just came by accident, just seeing the sign and deciding to stop because they were interested “Oh ! And will you bee there Next Week ? No ? So I try now !” I felt really happy to see that people react to this sign so easily ! It was always my dream to park somewhere in a town, village, on the market place to offer a sauna to People on a spontaneous way, but I never tried because I taught it would not work.. What happened on that evening gave me the energy to push my experiment a bit further and the try this out 🙂
5// 05-07.07 / Zürich / Living Room Festival – Stadionbrache / km 1410 / 1 Sauna (+ 1 Art Festival / City gardening project)
The Stadion Brache.
Similar to a Berlin Project “Prinzessinen garten”, the Stadion brache project is a neighbourhood initiative started 2011 and uses the Space leftower from an Old Football Stadion. Half of the space turned green, with a little boulder/climbing wall, flowers, gardening, a mini skatepark a little kitchen, well a really cosy space, non commercial and opened to everybody, and the other half is an empty asphalted space which is ready to host events, exhibitions or festivals. One of the festivals was the Living Room Festival who took over the space for some days
Living Room Festival
When I started to book my Tour, I looked for places to make saunas and my Friend Hanna told me to ask in the Stadion Brache. I saw that on my the period I would be around Zürich this “Living Room Festival” would take place, what is better that having a Sauna in a living room ?? so I went there 🙂
The Festival is a really eclectic festival, organised around a Main Tent where everybody can eat, share food and discuss on a donation based, and from this main tent some tentacular events are happening all around it, outside. Crazy construction, circus, architectural research, theatre, Dance, Concerts, and food sharing.. and a Sauna! The good thing about this festival is the fact that every event has a proper space and a proper showtime, the performances were placed so that the audience can goe from one spot to the other, moving their physical position to get in an other universe, no overlapping performances, or no performances one after the other on the same stage ! So it was completely up to the audience to go either to the next input or to give a moment of reflection on what just happened, I like when festivals give space for talks and reflection…
About the space …
At the beginning I was afraid of so much opened space, the truck was parked on a really big parking space, it felt kind of vulnerable, it didn’t fit exactly to my “feeling well” criterias (opened a lot to the outside, large space), but actually it felt surprisingly good, it fitted completely to the concept of moving from one topic to the next one, and the space between the different projects was a really good transition!
6// 11.07 / Strasbourg / La balastière / km 1770 / 1 Sauna (+ 1 Lake)
Back to the Roots !
The place where I come from and where I started to build the Sauna before bringing it to Berlin ! A nice and casual evening happened, on the parking lot directly beside the artificial lake of la Balastière ! Some friends came over and even some curious people passing by who wanted to try the Sauna 🙂
7// 12-13.07 / Strasbourg / Roc En Stock / km 1780 / 1 Sauna (+1 Climbing Boulder hall +1 Barbecue)
Roc en Stock…
…was the first place where I’ve ever been climbing, something like 15 Years ago, so it also felt really nice reconnecting with the space and its people ! The space was exactly made for the Sauna, I could directly drive there dock at the terrace ! Ghislain and Roc en Stock hosted me for two days after I asked them, it was nice how to see the reaction of Ghislain who accepted the Summer Sauna as a really big Joke he waned to share with everybody. He wanted to make the people aware of the Sauna so he went to talk to any people hanging at the climbing wall to tell them “ Hey Come down ! Let’s go to the Sauna ! It’s only Today ! Come”, Fantastic host, it felt like holiday to me ! Waking up, climbing, heating up the Sauna, and barbecue in the evening with a lot of happy people ! It was my first experience with a French climbing society, really nice atmosphere, really similar to the nice atmosphere I’ve been experimenting at Ostbloc in Berlin ! Thank you for the Evening !
So here we are, after Strasbourg, back to Berlin, the hot summer keeps me on standbye for some month, but I’m Back in September !
By the Way, the sauna had a birthday on this tour 🙂 320000km 🙂 Yeah !