Marco Polo, drunk Russian women peeing themselves, and the frozen piss story,

In Marco Polo’s journeys to the east, he makes note of several places he had never been, mostly relying upon the stories of traders and merchants.  In book four of his writings, The Travels of Marco Polo the Venetian he describes Russia, it’s culture, weather, and geography.

According to Polo, the Russians often practiced a tradition called the “straviza”, which was a day long drinking binge attended by men, women, and children alike. According to Polo

The Ladies of these drinking bouts do not leave when they have to pass water. Their handmaidens bring certain large sponges, and place them under them so delicately that the rest of the party does not notice anything. For while one lady is conversing with another, the maid places the sponge beneath her, and so the lady passes water as she sits on the sponge and the maid takes the swollen sponge away.  Thus they pass water every time they need.”

In another story, Marco Polo tells the story of a husband and wife who were walking home from a drinking binge,

While a couple were returning home from drinking one evening, his wife set herself down to pass water, her pubic hair becoming frozen to the ground from the extreme cold so that the woman was unable to move without crying out in pain. Her husband, being very drunk, stooped down to blow, wishing to melt the ice with his warm breath. While he blew, the moisture of his breath froze  so that the hairs of his beard became caught with the hairs of his woman.”

Sources; The Travels of Marco Polo, P. 391


Marco Polo, from Venice to Xanadu, by Laurence Bergreen, p. 312-313