For Dreamers and Jet-Setters

Presently, I live in a city with no hot springs, and this means that pursuing my passion always requires large financial and time commitments. So, when I have an itch to soak I pour myself a bath and read about where I could be instead. Cathedrals of the Flesh by Alexia Brue is a good memoir for the tub. It’s the story of young woman’s fore into cleansing and sweating rituals worldwide.

Brue writes about her international cleansing expedition, that takes her to Turkey, Russia, Finland, and Japan. There are beautiful descriptions of her travels, and the history and culture around bathing in these countries. Most importantly, to dreamers and would-be jet-setting bathers, she is very informative about the rules, practices, and social courtesies of bathing in the present. Brue shares her ecstasies and blunders in the baths and saunas of the world, and now, I feel that I could enjoy a Russian banya or a Turkish hamam with more grace than I might have otherwise.

If you liked Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love then you will find this book is entertaining. It has all the same adventure, passion, and personal quest elements of a globe-trotting woman on a mission, but better because it is about bathing. On the other hand, if you like to stick to facts, then consider the cultural tips and travel ideas supplementary material to Internet browsing.


3 thoughts on “For Dreamers and Jet-Setters

  1. The book of Alexia Brue is a “router” for everybody who likes o would like to know more about the culture of bathing. In my city, Torino/Italy, I am trying to organize a reading group about the Alexia Brue books to support the re-opening of an hammam who was born for just one year of life.
    The roots and the history of this our hammam are well radicated in how Alexia Brue face her experience in Turkey, expecially about the turkish nowadays attitudes to the hammam, which is part of their history.
    Hoping everybody a fine reading and a better bath, I great you from Torino, Italy. Oscar

  2. I will soon order this book because it seems to fit my interest. Entering hot springs and learning and writing about hot springs in Japan, where I live is my hobby or addiction. If you want to learn about Japanese onsens, please look at my blog named It is dedicated to Japanese hot springs and Japanese onsen culture

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