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View Full Version : On Banyas & Samagonkas & the real Russian experience...



Dnice
29-09-2009, 15:36
I feel I have been viewing Moscow through a westernized veneer. The clubs, the huge supermarkets, a "remodeled" apartment, the cafes, the huge restaurants... if they broke the subway every 15 minutes and did not let me smoke, I would think I was in NY.

It's is all very nice but I am trying to get to the core of the real Russian experience.

Two things I would like to experience are the "Banya" (Russian Baths), and the Samagonka (Home made alcohol, made by some old cooter on his stove)

I went to an amazing private Banya called Expedition, and while it was fantastic, I doubt that Russians can typically afford such a posh experience. (Although on another note, the restaurant there has an amazing "Shtroganina" - a frozen, sliced fish dipped in various sauces)

When given the chance I will go to a traditional smoke banya at the Dacha, but in the meantime I would love to hear recommendation on where I can go to a good Russian Banya, and where I can find and ancient dude to show me how to make "Samagonka" and anything else people feel is at the core of the Russian experience...

D

PS (Please, no comments about the futility of looking for the real Russia on an expat forum)

Viola
29-09-2009, 15:55
It's is all very nice but I am trying to get to the core of the real Russian experience.

Two things I would like to experience are the "Banya" (Russian Baths), and the Samagonka (Home made alcohol, made by some old cooter on his stove)

I went to an amazing private Banya called Expedition, and while it was fantastic, I doubt that Russians can typically afford such a posh experience. (Although on another note, the restaurant there has an amazing "Shtroganina" - a frozen, sliced fish dipped in various sauces)

I would love to hear recommendation on where I can go to a good Russian Banya, and where I can find and ancient dude to show me how to make "Samagonka" and anything else people feel is at the core of the Russian experience...



I would suggest to add to your core Russian exparience traditional Russian footwear - you may buy yourself traditional Russian 'lapti' and even find someone to teach you to make them. You will look very authentic going to banya wearing lapti :verycool:.


PS: Expeditsia is an excellent restaurant, one of the best in Moscow IMO.

Kangaroo495
29-09-2009, 15:59
Hm. Depends where you live really. The ideal place for a real banya is obviously the dacha, where you've got to put wood in the oven to make the heat, and there's no running water, so you fill up a massive barrel inside the banya to wash off.

You can find semi-authentic banyas in Moscow, but they're gonna most likely have small, cold sminning pools intead of barrels of water. You'll also probably get a billiard table and karaoke with that, and definitely one or two f***ing rooms. These places are never glamourous. Not like the one you went to before.

But with a few bottles of vodka at the same time, the experience should be authentic. Just don't fall over in the shower like I normally do. It hurts. Damages the brain I think.

The best one I've been to in a while is at Prospekt Vernadskovo - ul. Usacheva. They've got a triple level banya, which is lots of fun.

For the best experience, learn some Russian songs like "Chistie Prudy" "Ofitseri" or "Vladimirsky Tsenral", then sing along with the karaoke machine. Can't get much more authentic than that.

Kangaroo495
29-09-2009, 16:01
I would suggest to add to your core Russian exparience traditional Russian footwear - you may buy yourself traditional Russian 'lapti' and even find someone to teach you to make them. You will look very authentic going to banya wearing lapti :verycool:.


PS: Expeditsia is an excellent restaurant, one of the best in Moscow IMO.

Oh yeah - and you'll need one of those banya hats! They usually provide them in the banyas. Often have some kind of Soviet symbol on them. Very cute!

timolechka
29-09-2009, 16:13
When given the chance I will go to a traditional smoke banya at the Dacha, but in the meantime I would love to hear recommendation on where I can go to a good Russian Banya, and where I can find and ancient dude to show me how to make "Samagonka" and anything else people feel is at the core of the Russian experience...

D

If you do not mind travelling out of Moscow, you can try Uncle Pasha. I am sure, you will find here a true Russian bania and samogonka.
www dot unclepasha dot com
You need to try his dacha in Staritsa.

GaNozri
29-09-2009, 16:34
....... and while it was fantastic, I doubt that Russians can typically afford such a posh experience.

Let me get this straight. the huge supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants that you go to, are full of foreigners? With the poor Russkies lining up for left-overs on your way out? I dare you to go to the most expensive place in Moscow and calculate the % of foreigners there. Are you living in 1991?

As for banya - go to Sanduny (it's full of Russians BTW) if you want upscale. To me its too posh, and not just coz of price. I usually go to Krasnopresnenskie bani (m. 1905 goda, kinda behind 16 tonnes). It is cheap (700rub/2 hours) and will provide the authentic Russian bathing experience. They have a train engine from the 1910's full of iron pieces, working as the heater.

GaNozri
29-09-2009, 16:37
The best one I've been to in a while is at Prospekt Vernadskovo - ul. Usacheva. They've got a triple level banya, which is lots of fun.

Hey tht's very close to me, but I've never been. Are you talking real banya though, or one of those sauna/brothel type deals?

Kangaroo495
29-09-2009, 16:40
Hey tht's very close to me, but I've never been. Are you talking real banya though, or one of those sauna/brothel type deals?

Hmm. Not sure of the difference.

But it's a lot of fun!! Should try it. Can't remember the exact address. Just look up Udaltsova - banya/sauna on the internet. Sure you'll find it.

The best part about that place is you can bring your own food and drink.

GaNozri
29-09-2009, 16:53
OK, you are talking about Udaltsova 42, I think. I've been there - it's not a banya - it's a sauna. But I agree, it's pretty good.

FatAndy
29-09-2009, 17:56
Good banya with wooden barrels - Sanduny (it is very center, near Neglinnaya ul.) баня Сандуны, русские бани Москвы, Сандуновские бани - от 500руб/2часа. Общественные бани Москвы, московские бани сауны, банный комплекс (http://www.sanduny.ru/)

Samogon you can try at "Korchma Taras Bul'ba" Ukrainian restaurants.
(http://www.tarasbulba.ru/menu_06.php)

Moskauerin
29-09-2009, 20:48
It's is all very nice but I am trying to get to the core of the real Russian experience.

Dear Dnice, I am no use to help with banya and/ or samogonka, but if you are craving for a "real Russian experience", you should try to spend your Saturday night in one of the "sleeping districts" (spal'niy rayon) of Moscow. I would not go into details, but I can give you a couple of addresses if you are interested. You will see real life for sure!

Kangaroo495
30-09-2009, 12:25
Dear Dnice, I am no use to help with banya and/ or samogonka, but if you are craving for a "real Russian experience", you should try to spend your Saturday night in one of the "sleeping districts" (spal'niy rayon) of Moscow. I would not go into details, but I can give you a couple of addresses if you are interested. You will see real life for sure!

Hey, I'm interested! What kind of places are we talking about here?

Once I spent the evening at a club called Paluba at metro station Orekhovo. I'd have to say - that was a great experience! Just as authentic as the black-eye and concussion which I came home with after!

Moskauerin
30-09-2009, 21:49
Kangaroo, you already know one - Orekhovo is just the right place for that. You see, you did it once and had a quick and effective result. Now you can try the opposite side of the city. Let's say, somewhere in the area of Medvedkovo. Share your experience with us then!

Dnice
03-10-2009, 16:59
Let me get this straight. the huge supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants that you go to, are full of foreigners? With the poor Russkies lining up for left-overs on your way out? I dare you to go to the most expensive place in Moscow and calculate the % of foreigners there. Are you living in 1991?

As for banya - go to Sanduny (it's full of Russians BTW) if you want upscale. To me its too posh, and not just coz of price. I usually go to Krasnopresnenskie bani (m. 1905 goda, kinda behind 16 tonnes). It is cheap (700rub/2 hours) and will provide the authentic Russian bathing experience. They have a train engine from the 1910's full of iron pieces, working as the heater.
G - i don't mean that these places are full of foreigners, some like the supermarkets are affordable for all, others like the posh restaurants are full of expats and wealthy russians (of which there are plenty) but are westernized, and what I am looking for is a more authentic russian experience.

Thanks v. much for your suggestions!

tvadim133
03-10-2009, 17:08
Hey, I'm interested! What kind of places are we talking about here?

Once I spent the evening at a club called Paluba at metro station Orekhovo. I'd have to say - that was a great experience! Just as authentic as the black-eye and concussion which I came home with after!

Goodness, Paluba is not a club! It is something between a pub and a discoteque for strange people.

Kangaroo495
09-10-2009, 13:13
Goodness, Paluba is not a club! It is something between a pub and a discoteque for strange people.

I noticed that. Problem was, the strange people don't seem to know they are strange. When I informed them about it, they seemed... upset

:boxing: :5387:

dlc7474
12-10-2009, 01:24
i dont know about the whole banya-frozen lake thing

dlc7474
12-10-2009, 01:25
whew again, the hot banya-cold lake thing

robertmf
12-10-2009, 03:46
i dont know about the whole banya-frozen lake thing

Here ya go !!-:devil:
Polar bear club in Moscow, Russia (http://sdamusic.ru/polar-bear-club.html)

robertmf
12-10-2009, 03:49
whew again, the hot banya-cold lake thing

I've swum in Baikal. 4 C - Very briefly and :11581:

psychetician
28-10-2009, 11:10
I too have heard of the polar bear club... But they seem to do similar things at their dachas, sit in the banya, then run out and jump in the snow. They have a word for activities like this, but I've forgotten what it was...

FatAndy
28-10-2009, 12:16
polar bear club... But they seem to do similar things at their dachas, sit in the banya, then run out and jump in the snow. - it is usual Russian way to take banya. Maybe "polar bear club" is organized by inspired foreigners only? :D