Russian families who live in the cities have Dacha’s (summer houses) away from the City. Most of this houses I’ve seen are built by their owners hands and they grow most of their own food there too. Visiting Katya’s families Dacha has been the highlight of my trip so far.
Katya’s Dad showed me around his family Dacha, the community surrounding it, and the river that runs next to it. You can see straight away how much time and effort has gone into what he has built with his own hands. He is proud of what he’s created & has a very strong connection with the land. Here away from the City you can really feel the freshness of the air.
Each Dacha has a building for living, Banya (Russian sauna) and a garden for growing all types of Vegetables, Berries & Fruit. What is so amazing to me is that every Dacha is a reflection on the owners soul, personality and skill! They are all built by themselves and are all unique and different. Coming from the UK where the planning laws restrict and kill this creativity its so interesting for me to see how its encouraged and flourishes here.
In the evening we went for a Banya, which is a Russian Sauna. It’s a way to wash but also its very good for relaxation & health. Its heated up using a wood burning stove.
When you go inside you throw water that has been heated with mint leaves, birch & pine tree branches on the hot stones. The smell is delicious.
You go in, sit there until you feel too hot then go throw some cold water on yourself or go to the River to cool off. You go back inside, someone takes a bundle of birch branches from a bucket of hot water and hits you with them all over your body. It feels so refreshing and relaxing and leaves you energised afterwards. Russians say that this process with the Birch branches heals your body and spirit.
I broke my Raw foodism for one evening to try some of the Mushrooms that Katya’s mum Olga had picked earlier in the year. For Dinner we also ate 2 kinds of salad, artichoke roots & leafs all picked in the Garden that day. Coming from the Uk where now we don’t really grow much for ourselves it’s very refreshing for me to see how much food they can get from the Dacha in a short Siberian summer.
Even now as winters coming and most stuff is already picked, eaten, dried or pickled their was still many cabbages left to be picked. So much so that they filled the whole back of Katya’s dad’s Landcruiser (big 4×4) and even left some bags behind.
Anyway, my Russian experience continues,
till next time,