2.13 - More Rest Day Activities
Russian & Turkish Baths: 60+ min AMRAP Sweat It Out. Russian Sauna and Aromatherapy Room. Plus Platza Oak Leaf “treatment” ie getting beaten with sticks. Amazingly, the most stressful part of getting beaten with sticks in a room of intense radiant…
The BIG SCHVITZ
The Porchester Spa in Bayswater is London’s most prominent centre for the old Russian-Jewish practice of schmeissing (“beating” in the German and Yiddish).
It is this Russian-Jewish practice that is the soul of the baths, attracting an eclectic crowd. We have our smattering of celebrities (Ian McShane, Damon Albarn, very occasionally Lennox Lewis), and even the odd, perhaps very odd, senior judge. But the core of the schmeissing community is cabbies, market traders, bookies, barbers, retired nightclub owners and small-time entrepreneurs, not exclusively in the Arthur Daley tradition. Some of them have done time and many have not, while nicknames such as “Derek the Strangler” and “Meshuggener Mick” lend a Runyonesque air. Ages range from 18 to 85, and every creed and shade of skin is represented. There is no room whatever for outmoded class, wealth, ethnic or cultural distinctions among nude people sweating like pigs in temperatures of up to 125F.