Monday, February 06, 2006

Boston Globe, Travel Section "Russian Banya Chills and Thrills You"

Nice little travel story in Sunday's Boston Globe. I actually didn't see it, but a coworker cut it out for me. You can read the story, without the photos, here.

There is also information in the article regarding the Sergiev Posad Tour Company and Sandunoff Bath-House.

About the Sergiev Posad Tour Company, the sideline says:

Sergiev Posad Tour Company
Yuri and Svetlana Kurilkin
Ulitsa Vokzalnaya, 6
Sergieve Posad, Russia

phone: 011-7-8-254-443-25 (from US)
8-254-442-25 (from Moscow)

Full-day banya with troika rides and meal: $70 per person. For a nominal fee and 3-5 days advance notice, they will send a car or van (up to 15 people) to pick up your party in Moscow and deliver you back at the end of the excursion. Sveta speaks English. You can also get to Sergiev Posad by bus number 388.

In warmer months, Yuri and Sveta set up tours to local sites of interest, especially the nearby Trinity Monastery. In museums located on the monastery grounds, visitors can see many ancient icons, medieval manuscripts, and old printed books, as well as decorative arts from the early 15th to 20th centuries. They also offer visits to the Museum of Toys and Abramtsevo Estates.

I highly recommend the banya experience to all those who take the time to visit Russia. This article provides some nice details as well as the tour information cited above. Normally I am not too fond of the antiseptic nature of tours, but this one sounds pretty good, and for $70 for the day, it is an affordable experience. The Sandunoff Bath-House is even less expensive, with prices ranging from about $12 to $25.

I realize most of these sorts of things are typically touristy ... but I would say that a banya trip is worth it. Plus, I would like to hope that I might encourage some first time visitor to Russia to try something new.

I had tried to convince Katja to do a troika ride with me while in Rostov, but she talked me out of it. It doesn't take much of a breeze when the temperatures are cold to freeze your face off! She might have been slightly embarassed to be seen by neighbors riding around in some tourist contraption also.


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