February 2009


From a bleak Pskov city we were transported by bus into the rural Russian countryside. On the way, we were asked not to consume liquids as it may be detrimental to the activity we were soon to engage in. Miles of winding forest roads decorated with occasional rustic homes finally led us to our isolated destination. Temperatures were submerged and a small frozen lake could be glimpsed through the trees. On entering the log cabin building we were given clear instructions on how to proceed. Within minutes we left the changing rooms in bathing suits as if we were a well coordinated group. We lined up on small wooden benches in the entrance room adjacent to a big wooden door. Each of us received a sheet meant to be used as a towel later on, which we wrapped firmly around our shoulders for perceived warmth. Our attention was directed to…