I was just asked a question and it makes me think that many more people may be curious to know the answer so, here goes. Russia is not covered in snow 12 months out of the year. Even when they do have snow on the ground, though, it does not stop people from going out and walking in it.
They do have summer here, hence the need for summer houses. Actually spring will arrive in just a few weeks here, too and when it does, it comes quick. The downside to spring, as all the snow melts off, the dirt that has stacked up in it for months then piles up on the roads and sidewalks and makes everything a dusty, dirty mess until they can clean it up. In the summer, it gets mild and comfortable. It rarely gets hot, but they do spend as much time as they can outside. Many Russian families have dachas, or summer houses, where they spend as much time as they can. Some are very nice, and others are pretty rustic, but it is still a chance to get away, within an hour or so of home. At many of these dachas, they will have small gardens for fresh herbs and vegetables, and some have banyas. A banya is a steam bath, but the Russian version is extremely hot, 210 degree F range. You just in for 5 to 7 minutes, and then out into the snow, a cold water bath or a shower. Get something to drink, a snack and do it again. Three, four, five times in a row. It’s interesting.
In contrast to that experience, we just got back from visiting a monastery close by. As part of the ablutions people make, they have set up a bath for the faithful to plunge into a bath filled with water from the mountain. The place itself is unheated, although it is covered, and the water is ice cold. They do this in honor of the monk that founded the monastery. He lived in a small cave and bathed in the spring. So, there you go. I passed when I was given the chance to try it myself.
Tomorrow, we are getting up early to visit Suzdal. This city is older than Moscow and is one of the best of the Golden Ring cities, but it is four hours away, so, probably no more posts until Wednesday..