Some Like It Cold

In Australia a New Year swim at the beach is a chance for a cooling dip.  It will probably involve just an ordinary swimming costume.  In Germany, however, it needs a wetsuit, but that doesn’t deter the hundreds of hardy and dedicated swimmers who take to the water each year to celebrate the dawn of a new year with a dip in the Rhine.  For dip, read swim of almost 6km.  While all were welcome, the temperature and the length of the swim meant that most of the participants were lifeguards and divers.  Even thought so many of the swimmers were, effectively, professionals of some sort, the event was purely for fun, with participants in fancy dress (on top of their wetsuits) and some carrying inflatables to add to the atmosphere.  The event is for fun, it’s not a race, so participants happily let themselves be carried along and accepted bumping into each other as all part of the fun and a chance to catch up with friends.  After the swim, the participants received a commemorative medal along with some well-earned hot tea and traditional German mulled wine.  Those who’d rather swim in Australia’s rather warmer waters can enlist the help of a Germany NAATI translator to make sure that their trip runs smoothly.