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Ice Swimming in the Sea:

Location: Latvia, a Baltic State in eastern Europe, offers budget-friendly alternatives for winter activities.

Activity: Ice swimming or dipping is a popular local culture, especially during the winter months.

Participants: Locals known as “ronis” (seals) in Latvian or “morzhi” (walruses) in Russian are often seen enjoying this activity.

Locations: Seek out ice swimmers on the beaches of Vecāķi in Rīga’s northern suburbs and at Jūrmala, south of Rīga.

Experience: Despite the freezing temperatures, participants claim that the sea temperature, around 2–4°C, is warmer than the air temperature, providing a pleasant experience.

Procedure: Overcome the challenge of undressing in the cold and plunging into the icy water for an adrenaline rush.

Recovery: Towels are essential for drying off and vigorous self-massage, followed by hot tea from a pre-arranged thermos to warm up.

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Run from a Steam Bath to an Ice Hole:

Culture: Ice dipping is closely linked with steam baths, known as “pirtis” in Latvian or “banya” in Russian.

Setting: While there are steam baths by the sea, a classic experience involves a lake.

Procedure: After a session in the steam room with temperatures ranging from 60–100°C, participants swiftly move to the lake and dip into an ice hole.

Relief: The contrast between the heat of the steam room and the icy water provides a refreshing sensation.

Cooling Down: After the steam bath, participants may choose to walk around naked in the cold or jump into the icy water for further cooling.

Experience and Benefits:

Adrenaline Rush: Participants experience an adrenaline rush from the extreme temperatures and physical exertion.

Immunity Boost: Some claim that ice bathing makes them immune to viruses for the rest of winter.

Cultural Significance: Ice swimming and steam baths are deeply ingrained in Latvian culture, offering a unique and invigorating experience.

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