Silence and Sauna

Trip Start Jul 20, 2009
Trip End Sep 06, 2009

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Where I stayed
Ingriida's Beach House

Flag of Latvia  , Tukuma Rajons,
Saturday, August 1, 2009

I snuggled back into my sleeping-bag. The silence was absolute. I'd left Nick and the kids at the beach and come back up to the beach house alone. I strained to hear anything, but the loudest sound was my neck creaking. You cannot package that tranquillity (bones clicking, notwithstanding).

Sometime later, I joined the other couchsurfers in the main house. By this time, Ediite, Gerard and Sheena had arrived for the weekend along with a French backpacker (Nic) and several members of Ediite's extended family.

They were heating up the sauna and collecting birch twigs and mint sprigs. Ediite tied them together in to bundles and left them soaking in a big bucket inside the sauna. As a family, we got to have first go in the sauna. It was the kids first real sauna, not counting the time they'd been thrown out of the one in Kidderminster's Glades leisure centre for being underage.

The sauna smelled of pine and heat. The evening dusk filtered in, making it dim inside. The kids ran in and out as they needed to. Pouring hot, herb-scented water on the baking stones added an intensity to the heat, that drew out the sweat and opened the pores. Soon, we were all dripping.

I'm not an afficionado of birch-twig flaying, but the coolish water and gentle massage provided by a slap with a bundle of leafy sticks is actually quite pleasant during a hot sauna. The kids thought it was hilarious.

Afterwards, we put the kids to bed in house number three, which was older and smaller, with cute little beds. It looked a bit like Snow White's Dwarves should sleep there. The grown-ups talked long into the night. We were loathe to say goodbye to our new friends, knowing we would be long gone in the morning before they awoke. I hope our paths cross again soon.
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