65@65 SWIM #27, LAKE ZURICH, STRANDBAD MYTHENQUAI
Strandbad Mythenquai is on the other side of the lake to Teifenbrunnen, and closer to the centre of Zurich, easy to get to. I wasn’t sure initially, because this is a place you pay to go in to during the Summer, and in a lot of places they close them for the Winter. I came here after an aborted trip to swim in the River Limmat. The Limmat flows out of Lake Zurich, and pretty well through the city. There is a ladies only swim bath on the river in the centre of Zurich and another North of the central train station. I took the tram to the one at Letten, North of the centre and close to the old Lowenbrau brewery complex, now undergoing considerable gentrification via art galleries, train tracks turned cycle tracks and a top-end food market (where I got my Ticino pollenta). Across one of these bridges took me by the swimming baths, firmly locked for the season. I asked earlier about swimming here, and was told “Don’t, you’d be crazy now”. In the Summer they hold a two kilometer swim / float down on the Limmat. It’s a city thing, a family thing. People have their floats and enjoy the bright August weather from an even-then fast flowing river. The Swiss don’t seem to have a problem about fast flowing rivers – just do your risk assessment, do it at your own risk. The Limmat right now is belting along, and the water is swirling and whirling. Having come and conducted my risk assessment, I say no, not without a little regret, but it just looks too strong, with no obvious and easy way to get in and out.
After pulling back from the Limmat River, the only thing to do was to retrace my route, back on the tram, and then down to Lake Zurich., to Mythenquai. This was opened in 1922 as a lido, when many such places were opening across Europe and elsewhere. The facilities are again excellent – and open. Walking into the spacious garden area, the first thing to be strucken by is the view of the distant Alps, unveiled for the afternoon. Then the sandy beach, then the deck and diving board. Get changed on the deck in the company of a woman in as desperate a need of a swim as me. Then on the steps, a pulling in of breath, a dipping in and testing, a breathing out and easing in, and we are swimming. She goes her way around the marks, me, mine. In separate spaces in the same water. I head towards the Alps, watching their veiling descend, locking this sight in my memory. Swimming in Switzerland is special.