- Pre-trip preparations!
- Waking up in Warsaw!
- Warsaw, vodka and visas
- Hello Moscow – good to see you again!
- Russian cities and trains
- Banya in Yekaterinburg
- The second leg of the train ride: Yekaterinburg -> Irkutsk
- Irkutsk – Near the great Lake Baikal
- The last leg of the train ride. Irkutsk -> Ulan-Bataar
- Mongolia – 2 day tour!
- The end of the trip – our last night in Ulan-bataar
Conceiving the idea
This is a short post about a banya that we went to in yekaterinburg. For those of you not fully grasping the russian language – it is a bathroom.
They take many shapes and forms but according to our hosts in yekaterinburg, the one we tried in moscow (with a shared room etc) is only something you find in big cities. A real banya is different. To prove this, the hostess, Kate, found us a banya outside the city which was a “real” banya and she even convinvced one of the other people (a russian called Dim), to take us there and show us how it was done. Both because we have no idea how things work there and also because it was a little hard to get there apparently. In either case, how nice of her!! The hostel was omnomnom hostel in yekaterinburg. Props to that place.
Getting to the Banya
Well as it indeed was hard to get there we opted for the taxi as it was apparently only 200 rub (30DKK – 4 EUR) if you are with a local and you dont mind riding in the back of an unnamed, anonymous, old lada with a psychopath behind the wheel… luckily we dont
We got in the cab but after like 10 mins we had to stop because apparently the drivers wife was about to give birth and as such – the taxi driver had to leave… like now. We got out and waited for another cab (praising us lucky to have a local with us who could explain this and get a new cab)
The rest of the trip in the cab went fine except for the fact that nobody knew where it was and we drove around for a little while speaking russian but we finally got it. again GOOD thing we had a local to help with all that.
Inside we opted for the only room available – which was actually a two story appartment with an adjacent sauna, “cool off room”, and wc. It also included a pool table a bed, a couch, tv, dvd, music, and free roomservice. Well. Nice 🙂
From there on out we just had a good two hours. Apparently what you do is heat up the sauna, order food and beer (and women apparently was very common and only like 1000 rub – we didnt do it though) and wait. When the sauna is warm one person goes on his stomach and is repeatedly beat with a warm leaf stick thingie that burns like a thousand suns and you are sprayed with 80 degrees water and after this hell is over you jump into a cold pool of water (20 degrees is cold) and go out and relax with beer and food. I know it sounds bad but it really isnt. Afterwards you are extremely relaxed and feel great – definately worth the time (and money – including the cab rides it was about 3000 rub = 450dkk for all three of us).
We heard some russian music, dim showed us pictures and told us about himself, we ate and had a good 2 hours. Afterwards we took a cab home, saw some cool mirror / fear theme parks and went for a beer. Dim invited us to his home region if we wanted and also, he said him and his mother might be coming to copehagen next summer… by car! interesting. Looking forward to that so much.