Monthly Archives: January 2013

Taking the plunge: Czechs go wild (swimming) in the Vltava

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The little dots in the water? Wild winter swimmers. These Czechs! So tough!

On my return to Prague following my Christmas break, I was greeted not by snow but by grey skies. While I wouldn’t want temperatures to dip to the Siberian lows of last winter (one of the coldest on record), Prague does look pretty in the snow. Until it begins to melt and the pavements are full of brown slush – not so picture postcard perfect.

Anyway, last Sunday Czechman suggested an afternoon stroll on Charles Bridge. Given that

a) Czechman is not much of a romantic

b) Karluv most is a tourist hotspot rife with pickpockets, tourists milling at a snail’s pace and stalls selling souvenirs

I was a little suspicious as to his reasons for paying the landmark a visit.

It turns out that Czechman had invited me along to witness one of his friends going for a dip in the river. Yes, you read that correctly: despite the chilly weather conditions, a whole gang of Czechs decided to hop on a boat, strip down to their trunks (or bikinis – yes, there were a few ladies participating) and then swim their way across a fair breadth of the Vltava back to the shore.

Just thinking about it makes me shiver.

I was of course ready with my camera to record this event for posterity – and for your amusement. Here you can see a couple of brave Czech chaps and chapesses gingerly making their descent into the icy water:

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Here you see the swimmers battling the current and heading for shore where hot punch and soup await them:

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Ever wondered what messing about in the river on a chilly day might do to your skin? Check out these photos of the participants once they were back on dry land. They look like human klobasa (that’s the name of the fat Czech sausage by the way). Czech out (see what I did there?) the sign – it confirms the water was only 5 degrees:

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It’s always nice to see a man in swimming trunks and a tiara.

And they say the English are eccentric.

Finally, a picture postcard shot of the Castle from the bank beside the bridge. Notice how the trend for leaving locks on the fence as a romantic souvenir has spread from Prague’s Little Venice to this side of the river:

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I know I’ve been neglecting my blogger duties somewhat of late, but they’ll be more wit and whimsy to follow soon, I promise. Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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