The Sauna In The Woods

I’ve learned through my travels that I am good at talking people into doing things that I want them to do. I’m not evil. I know that the things I want them to do will be fun for them, but will badger them into it or die trying. That is how my friend Sandy and I convinced ten people in our hostel in Vilnius to travel two hours outside the city to stay in a cabin with a sauna in the middle of nowhere. Literally the directions once you get off the train are, “There is only one dirt path to your left, follow it until you reach the cabin.”

There is nothing around here.

There is nothing around here.

The night before our excursion everything fell into place. No one wanted to go with us until other people committed to go with us. So every time someone would check in into the hostel we would pounce on them. It finally worked on a group of Australian boys. They immediately signed up, and then everyone else immediately agreed to come.

The next morning we caught a train while carrying some of our supplies. The rest of the group was coming by car, and would be bringing the rest. On the train Lithuania once again proved to be the land of scary spiders when a giant one climbed up the back of Masha’s chair and terrifying all of us. We stood the rest of the ride.

Once there we realized there were still people in the cabin. Now picture Masha. She is a gorgeous blonde Australian girl. She walks up to the man who is preparing the sauna, so we figure he runs the place, and she begins speaking fluent Russian to him. We were all floored. We soon learned that Masha’s parents were Latvian, so she grew up speaking Russian. We learned the people in the cabin would be leaving soon, but we were welcome to the sauna.

The sauna.

The sauna.

It was an old sauna next to a river with steps leading down to the river so you could jump in the water after a nice time in the heat. I immediately stripped down to my bikini bottoms. The tagline for this place had been, “Sauna like a local….naked.” I wasn’t about to be a prude. We soon learned the great thing about drinking in saunas. Your warm beer instantly feels cold in a hot sauna. We spent the next couple hours sitting in the sauna and jumping in the FREEZING river water. But we were running low on alcohol, and the group bringing the supplies hadn’t shown up yet. After a few more hours we really began to worry. The only ones who had any booze were the Australian boys and they weren’t sharing. Finally one of the other guys offered to trade them some ritalin if they would share their alcohol. That did the trick.

Come in the waters....FREEZING!

Come in the waters….FREEZING!

It wasn’t going to be enough though, and we were giving up on our friends showing up. Masha found the old man again and asked him if he could drive us to where we could buy booze. He couldn’t but he had a friend who was a “taxi driver” who could go get us alcohol and bring it to us. We were about to do this when finally our friends showed up in their car.

Our cabin.

Our cabin.

Now we were happy. We all began to sauna and drink again, and soon everyone was getting naked. We sat by the campfire and enjoyed ourselves. We found though the Australian boys were stealing everyone else’s alcohol. They had finished off Sandy’s bottle entirely, and then thrown the bottle in the fire causing all of us to worry about walking barefoot anymore. Whenever I would hula hoop they would scream “hoop naked!” Then when we were all down at the sauna Masha wanted to see what it would feel like to be whipped by the towel. They whipped her a couple times and then it hurt to much and she was telling them to stop. They didn’t so I tried telling them to leave her alone. All of a sudden they whipped me too. It hurt like hell. They’re laughing as I’m in a ton of pain. Later we found I had a giant welt on my ass, and even the guys who didn’t initially realize why I was mad began to get it.


The night rolled on with campfire sits and sauna visits. Around ten we all began planning to head down to the sauna again when Sandy ran up and told us not to for a while. There were some old naked people in our sauna hitting each other with birch leaves. When Sandy had opened the door he had been stunned. The old woman came to the window and told him to come back in ten minutes. We have no clue where these people even came from.

By halfway through the night we were out of alcohol and we had learned a valuable lesson. When going camping or anywhere where booze is not easily available bring more of it then you believe you could ever possibly consume, because somehow you will.


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