Archive | June, 2013

Chmielniki Lake

22 Jun

Well, it’s been time for my first swim of the summer – this usually take place in the Brda river, but this year the title goes to Lake Chmielniki, near Bydgoszcz. One thing that binds the experience of freshwater swimming on a blazing hot midsummer’s day and sea swimming on a blazing hot midsummer’s day, is the fact that you smell the water in the breeze and you smell the distinctive smell of suntan lotion when there are plenty of people also enjoying the water, which has become such an evocative smell in itself. It evokes all the beginnings of summers past, until you get used to it. There was a time when suntan lotion barely existed and people used to fry in very low-protection oil, or used nothing at all. But the depleting ozone layer and growing awareness of the connection between unprotected sunbathing and skin cancer has put paid to all that. Other than that, it’s a totally different experience. The smell of sea is of course saltier than that of a lake, which has a kind of reedy quality to it. Swimming in sweet water isn’t as buoyant as swimming in the sea, but none the worse for that.

People still do the same things in the water; swim, lark around, play in groups a sort of improvised water polo, float on lilos, row boats, etc. etc. Thank goodness Chmielniki isn’t like Lake Jezioro, where you can’t swim out too far because of the large number of sailing vessels plying through the water. Here you can enoy yourself without disturbance if you want to swim far out into the middle – which is what I always want to do.

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