Sima bog near Moscow

 Русский

naturist 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

There is a very pretty bog not too far from Moscow, and it was one of the most interesting places where I’ve enjoyed outdoors the natural way, naked. It is a peat bog called Sima at the Zvenigorod Biological Station of Moscow State University, where I spent quite a lot of time during summer practices in my student year. It was so nice to come back there a few years later. Student excursions aside, it’s an ideal place to find oneself at peace with nature.

view 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Sima is a relatively small peat moss bog surrounded by fir-tree forest.
view 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

The bog is outlined by a stretch of smaller-than-usual birches and pines, as well as blueberries and rhododendron. There were no berries of course, when I visited in May, but rhododendron bush was in full bloom.
Rhododendron 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Though transition between the forest and the bog appears relatively smooth, there’s no transition between the bog and the lake in the centre of it: the mire just ends abruptly and the lake is over 1-1.5m deep already at the very edge of it. This used to be a peat pit. Thus the lake looks like a huge pool with black water.
view 0002 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Of course, we couldn’t help swimming there on a hot day like that.
naturist 0004 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Such a dark water surface reflects exceptionally well.
naturist 0008 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

We didn’t see any fish in the lake, but there must be some, as a couple of seagulls hang out by the lake too.
seagull 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

In any case, it is the bog that makes Sima so special. If from the photos you might think it wasn’t much different from a meadow, this animated picture will assure you that it was a true quaking bog.
naturist-quake-0000-Sima,-Moscow-oblast,-Russia

You can feel like a giant quaking the earth! It’s a funny feeling to walk on that jelly-like surface, you just need to make sure not to sink into it. The trail is enhanced with wooden planks, as you can see on the first photo and the one below.
naturist 0006 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

But if you get off the trail, stay closer to the edge of the lake, where the mire appears to be more solid.
naturist 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Although this place feels secluded, some people just can’t get out of touch with the rest of the world thanks to their mobile phones… However, we did spend most of the time with various activities and observing the nature around.
naturist 0005 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

There were many things to marvel at even at our feet. Besides sedges, cranberry plants and peat moss, we found quite a few carnivorous plants.
sundew 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

This plant is called sundew due to obvious reasons; this ‘dew’ is used to catch small unwary insects.
sundew 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

They are not alone in that quest, having to compete with frogs
frog 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

and other insects, such as dragonflies.
dragonfly 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Not all dragonflies, however, were busy preying: some demonstrated amazing stunts of sex in the air! (I would explain the fact that camera focused on their reflection in water as a mode of censorship blur, but the reflection was just as sharp and clear!)
dragonfly 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

In any case, we weren’t disturbed by any mosquitos an flies on that day.
Considering the soft and flat surface of the quaking bog, I decided that it was finally the time to practice some gymnastics after half-a-year break due to my ankle injury.

naturist-flip-0000-Sima,-Moscow-oblast,-Russia

Even though I wasn’t in the best shape, I jumped to my heart’s content.
naturist 0002 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

I almost got stuck in the mire after one jump 😀
naturist 0003 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Actually, there were no issues with that. It was a unique experience of gymnastics in its authentic meaning – exercising naked – in a completely natural setting with a natural bouncy floor.
naturist 0007 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Thanks to this soft spring floor, Sasha even mastered a headstand for the fist time. Then we switched to acro-yoga, doing both core-strengthening
naturist acro-yoga 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

and relaxing exercises.
naturist acro-yoga 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

Altogether, we had a glorious day in our altogethers.
view 0003 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

I hope Sima will keep its uniqueness, although bogs are prompt to changing due to natural reasons and man impact. Unfortunately, we saw some deep potholes at bog and the trail leading to it that resulted from an overuse by quad-bikers, and later we saw two such all-terrain vehicles on the trail. ATVs are certainly not an eco-friendly way to explore outdoors, and I hope the trail entry will be gated properly. The forest, as in many areas around Moscow, has been also infested by a fir-killing bug.
view 0005 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

I’ll end the story on a pleasant note, however. We also saw quite a few flowers on the trail,
plant 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

such as this exotic-looking spurge,
plant 0001 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

an aromatic and bright-flowered bean plant,
Convallaria 0000 Sima, Moscow oblast, Russia

and an even more aromatic lily of the valley. Thus, Sima is an excellent place for naturists and naturalists alike!

banya with an ice hole in Moscow

русский

While there is hardly any evidence of the snowstorm Nemo in NYC anymore, and most of the city dwellers yearn for warmth and summer, here is a naturist take on dealing with the snow in Moscow, a city where snow cover stays for 3-5 months a year.

So, luckily Russians have ‘banya‘ – traditional steam room, often located next to a lake or river, and there is a whole culture around it. Unfortunately though, the traditional Russian steam room is becoming less and less common, especially in urban areas. Most ‘banyas’ in Moscow would rather offer dry Finnish saunas, and even steam rooms there are more of Turkish style than Russian. This is mostly because traditional Russian banya requires wood to produce heat and a lot of steam, at temperatures much higher than Turkish hamam,  which makes banya much more expensive and complicated to operated. Another part of banya ritual – skinny-dipping in some natural waters between the sweating sessions – is even harder to achieve in urban environment.

However, there is at least one banya in Moscow that boasts a proper ice hole in the river. My friend Kolya just found it online, and I am not sure, if there is any alternative within the city boundaries. It operates as a rent facility with up to 8 person capacity for 3000 roubles an hour (2hrs min) – for arrangements call +7 (495)507-45-52 or +7(925)002-80-72. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is located in one of the biggest parks of Moscow, Serebyany Bor (Silver Pinery), on the banks of the Moscow River (upstream of the city), next to the well-known nudist beach. This is where I used to hang out on warm days during my student years (I described this beach but unfortunately never managed to get any proper photos there), but this winter was the first time I appreciated this place with all the snow and ice.

Upon arrival, we first tried to get the music equipment work (there was a proper turntable and good loudspeakers but we didn’t bring any music with us).

naturist 0010 Banya, Serebyany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Then we realised it wasn’t why we came there and went to the steam room. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough steam for a proper Russian banya (it was rather a modified Finnish sauna), but it was good enough to make us sweat. And after all, the main reason why we chose it, was not even the sauna itself but the ice hole in the Moscow River.

Kolya was the first one to go for a quick dip, but he practices bathing in ice holes regularly, and even without banyas nearby! It took me a little while to get ready.

naturist 0000 Banya, Serebyany Bor, Moscow, Russia

The next one already dived in without any hesitation!

naturist 0008 Banya, Serebyany Bor, Moscow, Russia

It is difficult to describe the feeling, but it is quite close to euphoria! after heating up in the sauna, it actually seems as the right thing to do. Rapid changes in temperature is supposed to train your cardiovascular system to control the tonus of blood vessels. Just don’t stay in the cold water too long.

naturist 0006 Banya, Serebyany Bor, Moscow, Russia

It was also nice to chill out inside the cabin and look outside the window at some people… playing beach volleyball in the snow! That was some anti-nudist volleyball though, but I won’t judge them as the temperature was below freezing after all.

naturist 0011 Banya, Serebyany Bor, Moscow, Russia

One of the pleasant side effects of our trip to banya was realising that when people are confronted with ‘casual’ nudity, they are actually fine with it (similarly to the World Naked Bike Rides in NYC and Madrid, or at a naked stroll in San Francisco, for example). There were numerous skiers passing by the ice hole while we were skinny dipping, and we got a lot of smiles and encouragement!

naturist 0003 Banya, Serebyany Bor, Moscow, Russia

I wonder how many winter visitors of Serebryany Bor witnessed something like that… but I hope those who did were inspired!

naturist 0001 Banya, Serebyany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Naturist beach and park in Moscow, Serebryany Bor

 Русский

naturist 0000 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Serebryany Bor (Silver Pinery) is a unique place in Moscow where you can enjoy nature without having to leave the city, and even in your birthday suite. The only thing that will remind you of the hustle and bustle of the metropolis are the skyscrapers of Moscow-City and, unfortunately, some noise from a highway.

naturist 0001 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Otherwise, you’ll be surrounded by the forest and river. The Moscow River is very quiet there, with hardly any current noticeable, so it’s nice for swimming (and even nicer, since you can do it naked). If you swim from one edge of the nudist beach to the other, it’s approximately 2500 feet, so swimming forth and back would give a decent distance of 1.5 km. Just keep closer to the shore, as there may come speedy jet-skiers.

The park is dominated by willows, traditional Russian birches and, as you could guess from the name of the place, pines. It makes it easy to find a secluded place to your liking – with sun or some shade, grass or sand.

naturist 0001 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

If you’re lucky, a nightingale may provide you a pleasant acoustic background. I was lucky to see such a singing nightingale, although usually they are hard to spot even when you hear them.

nightingale 0000 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Speaking of music, if you do want to hear some, stay in the beginning of the beach (closer to the mini-bus station) – there is a cafe with a radio.

naturist 0002 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

You can buy snacks, beer and other beverages, as well as ice-cream in the cafe without having to dress, so Serebryany Bor is turning into fully functional nudist resort.

Next to the cafe, there a horizontal bar, but I didn’t take pictures there with too many people around. Another horizontal bar is in the woods in the eastern part of the park. I’ve already posted a gifs of me doing pull-ups on this blog, so I think I have to promise to learn something more interesting by the next time 😉

naturist-pull-ups-0000-Serebryany-Bor,-Moscow,-Russia

There are few short trails that are nice to stroll or jog on, and some people even ride bicycles in the buff.

naturist 0005 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Of course it wouldn’t be a proper naturist beach without a volleyball field! There are two volleyball nets installed, one near the cafe and another in the center, but unfortunately they are usually taken by the local regulars and it’s hard to join them.

naturist 0006 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Already after my last visit to Moscow, a friend of mine found an outdoor gym next to the nudist beach; I’ll have to check it out next time. But even without the gym and volleyball net, we didn’t just sit lazily 🙂 We also did some yoga.

naturist 0003 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

I found that Moscow-city skyline fit pretty well to the otherwise natural landscape there, and it even inspired me to keep some yoga poses longer, while the photographer looked for the best angle 😉

naturist 0004 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

I noticed that many muscovites do not appreciate Serebryany Bor too much, with a sentiment that there are much better resorts abroad. However, after having travelled to numerous naturist destinations around the world, I can assure that there are very few urban parks like this, where a beach and a forest are intermingled, and you can swim, play volleyball or sit in a cafe, and all naked! And it’s a nice place to visit even in winter, as there is a banya with an ice-hole! But let’s not talk about cold, the weather is very hot right now in Moscow, so enjoy the summer at Serebryany Bor 😎

PS Google maps is the choice throughout the website, by Yandex provides better service than Google in Russian-speaking domain, so better check out Yandex maps for directions.