A Siberian Epiphany: Taking the Plunge

It is minus 30°C. Siberia. Mid-January. After weeks of ice cold showers and the odd naked leap into piles of fresh snow, I find myself standing in a long line of Russian men, wearing nothing but a pair of rather tight Speedos.

Despite my preparation, the cold is almost unbearable, especially in my toes, which are red and numb after barely a minute’s exposure to the snow and ice underfoot. My body implores me to return to my clothes and run inside, yet for some reason, my head tells me to stay.