This past week I have started using the Banya adjacent to the house next door. I have decided it is my little slice of Heaven. Len Schwarz built the banya and he did an amazing job. It is equipped with indoor hot/cold water hose, indoor speakers, windows which overlook Mill Bay and enough room for several people. There is a long bench right outside for cooling off on and a small changing room as well. Tonight Brandi Carlile sang as Mary Jane and I soaked our feet in tubs of hot water. Ahhhhh......
Very different from the old, well-loved, fire hazard banya which our family knew and loved in our house on Monashka bay, while I was growing up. But how great it was!!! There was a porch where if you weren't careful with your footing you'd go right down and a long hose ran from the house down to the banya providing cool water to splash on the rocks. Was it just me, or did it seem like the cooler the water the better the steam there was? I don't know if that even makes sense with the physics of it all. There was the upper HOT layer and a COLD bottom layer. A small ledge big enough for 1 person separated the two. I remember liking the ledge.
I look back now and realize what a big part of our life and social life it was-especially in high school. I remember the high school parties where we'd start in the banya and everyone would return to the house to watch a movie. All of a sudden someone would pipe up, "hey, where did Betsy and Johnny go?" Its 2 hours later and they were still in the banya... pretty funny.
The banya is long gone. When the new owners of the house bought it, they tore it down. It had to go. It lived a LONG life. I believe it was the first structure built on the property. I wish I had pictures of the inside of it.
For the past 15 years I've been out of my banya routine...and now I'm back into it. And it feels GREAT.
The banya is an experience where I can soak up the heat, the humidity and just soak in the relaxation. Its fabulous. And a perfect way to calm the body and spirit. So relaxing and soothing. I literally felt the tension leave my upper back--the 8 hour work day disappeared from my muscles. FABULOUS!!
Tonight was my third banya--everytime has been with different girlfriends. Its so fun to hang out, talk, pour water on the hot rocks, hang outside and cool down.
Now its time for a good night of sleep...