Swimming in Vättern

A glorious summer day. A Saturday. Sunshine and blue skies. We drove south with Anders and Marianne who wanted to introduce us to a new swimming place, one of their favorites. An hour in the car and we were beginning to wonder of it was worth it. But it was worth the wait. Some 5km south of the Olshammar turnoff on Route 49, which runs down the western side of Lake Vättern, we turned into a parking area which at 11.30 this morning was already quite full. A short walk down a boggy track through the forest brought us out onto the shores of the huge lake, the water shimmering off into the distance. We found ourself at the end of a small “vik” – inlet – and we followed the northern shore out onto a point. There were people scattered over the boulders that make up the shores of Vättern here, but it was not crowded. Water was clear and still, hardly rippled by wind. There were rocky islets scattered around the sun drenched shores, and out into the broad expanse of water across to another side, perhaps a few kilometres away.

The boys yelled with delight (Hanna, our keenest swimmer, is in Dalarna for a few days) and were soon in the water, amazed at the multicolored ridges of rock that run out into the deeper places, but which are for the first 20 metres or so not far below the surface. There were schools of tiny fish, soon being scooped up with buckets and nets. There were smooth, warm boulders to lie on. But for chatter from various groups, and the low hum of distant power boats, it was quiet. That is the thing that makes swimming in Sweden so different from Australia, where we mostly swim at the seaside – the quietness. There is no surf, the thundering crash of waves on the beach is not there. And of course, the water is sweet, not salt. Often very cold. too, but today it was pleasantly cool and we had long swims out to the rocks and over the the other side of the tiny vik where we had parked our towels and lunch and sunchairs.

We had lunch and lounged around and chatted and played. It was hard, when the afternoon drew on into evening, to pack up. The long drive home did not beckon. But leave we reluctantly, and inevitably did, delighted at a day of discovery and relaxing and simple enjoyment of sun and water and sky.


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