Saturday, December 23, 2006

What's most important in Finnish sauna or Russian banya?

If anybody says that number one for bania is the “venik” you must to know its bullshit. Number one is the bath spirit, delicate aroma of special herbage. Moreover you must have an easy breathe. If you are gasping it’s not a bath, it's a gas-chamber. To have these conditions Master Boris ventilates the steam chamber and it is a long process. He opens window leaf and doors, switch on the air-exhauster and breaks into the heater about 20 liters of hot water for three times. There are near 15 ton of red-hot pig-iron in that heater. Then he mixes thoroughly the steam, closes the door in the steam chamber and breaks into the heater his special extracts. He does it so slowly, so solidly. And we are waiting, waiting, waiting… When we hear his magic words: “those who wish to warm themselves” we carefully come into the chamber. The floor and walls of this cabin are covered (it’s very important!) with aspen 6 inch beam! We lie down to special bath rags and wait again. And he is coming. He seats in the center of the wood bath floor, takes his great “venik” and begins to heat us. This is a groovy moment: if somebody like Britney Spires comes in we can’t notice her. His large fan - oak “venik” – blows the hot air to us and we are happy! Next time we are so happy only when he stops and we can run away to the cold water pool or the contrast shower. Four times with Boris and you are ready for a space travel. Then you can have a relaxing massage or a good dinner with many drinks for your health. Now you know – Moscow can be a great place not only during the military review.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Master Boris and his “venik” – its better then Viagra!

If you go out of one's mind once and you’ll visit Moscow – don’t be afraid! This crazy city is not the capital of the “evil empire”. This city is the capital of the Russian banya! You must to set aside a visit to Kremlin. Go to the Seleznevskaya banya. This is the place for your pleasure and for your health. You can loose your overweight in this bath better then while jogging. Don’t worry about yourself in it – these visitors are more cultural then in the Big Theatre. And don’t worry about your property – you can see many expensive mobile phones without care and you can see a lot of people from US, Europe and other countries. Why those busy men had are assembling in this place every week? Because they need a special bania’s spirit and an excellent bath “steam”. Better time for visiting – 4 PM in Wednesday or in Saturday because you don’t need to by the “venik”, you don’t must to do something – all of it is made by professionals. All days in that bath some specialists are making a “banias steam”. But only in two days at the week you can see Master Boris – the oldest and the best bath expert. He prepares the heat bath steam more then 40 years and he have many special formulas for this. He prepares the bath steam with horse radish, absinth, mustard and eucalyptus. He used bear for steam not to himself. His fitness is perfect because he have a kindly soul.

You can easily build Russian banya

You can easily build a Russian bath in your garden-plot in Wyoming, in Alaska or in Texas. And you can have a cheap small wooden hut, a simplest oven, even an electric one and just over a hundred pounds of small, wrist-sized gravels. Real Russian bath is not at all a dark house with bearded men who beat each other with an oak and birch broom as one could see in Hollywood movies. They are small wooden houses of the former USSR which were built by every poor peasant.
I have visited hundreds of baths. They were small country huts and big town commercial or privately owned. My group of workers has built several tens of country baths and big elite ones. I can tell you a lot first hand. But I remember constructing a bath in the province of Farah in Afghanistan in 1986 as my best experience. Our brigade used caissons of artillery mount ‘Grad’. And we stoked the oven welded from pipes with diesel oil. There was awful stink but how happy the GIs were! This was of great value! Many good guys still risk their lives in this hospitable country. But first of all I would like to speak about one of the best baths – a place which I visit many times and it makes me happy. It is the place where you can meet a millionaire, a rock star. But there no one care who you are. Everyone comes there for health, for unforgettable aromas, to have fun!
But in spite of my wide experience in photographing (I have another blog about photo devices) it was more complicated to shoot anybody in this place than to build banya in Afghanistan!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I can have more health & beauty only in Russian bath than in Finnish sauna!

Bath procedure has got a long history. At first people took a bath just to get rid of dirt. Then they realized that having made the process more complicated they could have a lot of fun. As s result Roman terms appeared as real palaces of pleasure. But today we care more about our health. We think of way how to reduce our weight. Although bath is useful it can do harm.
What is the way of visiting banya? Which is better: Finnish sauna, Russian bath or Turkish hamam? And what is really good for us in warming up our bodies to the temperature of boiling water?
I have been keen on bath procedure for over 40 years. My parents were bath fans too. Having taken everything in the world of bath I have decided in favour of three: Turkish hamam for best relaxing, sauna if I want to dive in icy water, which you may doubt a real pleasure, and feel absolutely happy when I come up to the surface. And at last Russian banya for taking care of my health and to be fit. As for Turkish hamam it is good in Turkey. It is important to get inspired with this exotic country, to find yourself in the strong hands of a real bath-house attendant who can do pilling fantastically, which benefits your skin. Finnish sauna is good for north people as your can have problems to find really icy water in California, for instance. I don’t speak about small cabins which you can buy and set particularly in every flat. They are another topic.