My year of wild swimming

 I went full circle. It all started in August 2020, after I had watched this (I loved its creator’s drive although I, later on, became disappointed in her – that is another story). This one – the short version – happened because, before the plandemic, I used to swim at least once a week. Water was one of those Top 5 elements that I missed when everything (bizarrely and unfairly!) closed in March 2020.

So, after almost 5 months, I couldn’t fight my feelings. I didn’t want to.

I started swimming again!


Month no. 1 – August 2020

Lake Buhui, Romania

After kayaking the lake, Marcel and I decided to swim in it. The water did seem warmer from the kayak, but we had so much fun! It felt like a rebirth! And my Dad filmed it all. J

Lake Buhui, Romania


Month no. 2 – September 2020

Danube River ~ km 552, Romania

An impromptuish trip to Oltenia turned into so much more. Last summer, as restrictions eased and many people felt like living life even more intensively than they used to, was special. One of the summers I loved most (unlike this one, filled with pressure and blackmail)! So, being able to swim in the magical Danube – which has always been in my ♥ was a dream come true. Marcel and I prolongued summer, the water temperature was perfect at ‘Plaja’ (about 3 km upstream from the outskirts of Zimnicea), and I could see Bulgaria across the water that was flickering bright.  

My favourite.

Plaja, the mighty Danube, Romania


Month no. 3 – October 2020

Dunărea Veche River, Romania

Braşov gets very cold in the second half of October (sometimes in the first, too). So, while in Braşov we were wearing beanies at night, Dobruja (SE Romania) boasted a beautiful Indian summer. I took advantage of it and swam in some cool water. Thankfully, the air temperature was around 24°C as we exited Măcin on the way to Smârdan.

Dunarea Veche, Romania


Month no. 4 – November 2020

Red Sea ~ Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

I chanced it – with all the restrictions nazically imposed on travel –, but Marcel and I believed in our star and made it to Egypt. I completed my November challenge on the last day of the month and it felt great even though the coral was destroyed (central part of Naama Bay)!

The Red Sea; Sharm, Egypt


Month no. 5 – December 2020

Red Sea ~ Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

We stayed for a few days to snorkel around Sharm before heading north to Dahab, so my first swim of the month naturally occurred on the first day of December, Romania’s national holiday… It was a perfect afternoon for snorkelling in the eastern end of Naama Bay!

Top 5

Snorkelling the Red Sea; Naama Bay, Sharm, Egypt


Month no. 6 – January 2021

Mineral spring in Peteni, Romania

I feared January with all my heart (winters are rough in Romania). In the end, we found a restored traditional bath with a sauna in Peteni. We were welcomed beautifully, we brought wood for the stove, and I needed to break some ice to enter. The water was probably 1-2°C, I felt my feet froze… but when I got out, I had no issues standing in the cold air, in my swimming gear… wet. We entered the sauna and got into the water again.

You really feel you’re alive after exposure to water that’s so cold! I think this was the point when I started to truly love the challenge!

Top 5

Peteni, Romania


Month no. 7 – February 2021

Black Sea ~Vama Veche, Romania

After trying to find a spot to swim around Braşov, I realised that February was also tricky and cold, so I convinced Marcel to drive me to Vama Veche. We left on February 27th – a beautiful and warm spring day in (technically still) winter. We arrived at the seaside on a cold windy evening. The last day of winter was even windier, but we went to the beach. People encouraged me, Marcel was walking barefoot on the cold sand. I took a look at the sea; I had never seen our Black Sea that beautiful. Light turquoise. Inviting. Perfect. 7-8°C. The huge waves didn’t stop me but called me even more. My feet froze again but I loved every bit of it!!

Top 3 (my second favourite, actually)

Vama Veche, Romania


Month no. 8 – March 2021

Pădureni-Moacşa Lake, Romania

Technically, I kept telling myself that the cold months were behind me. With the highest amounts of snow I’ve seen in my life in Poiana Braşov before and after completing the March swimming challenge, it didn’t feel like it. I was lucky to take advantage of one warm spring afternoon at the end of March and swim in the lake. The water was very cold but bearable, compared to the previous two months.

I was starting to get used to the cold!

Lake Padureni-Moacsa, Romania


Month no. 9 – April 2021

Argeş River Delta, Romania

As we were planning to leave on a trip through Albania and believed in our star again, the first stop was on the other side from Poşta, a less-known destination for birdwatchers. A muddy dip went well after some kayaking and I – surprisingly! – experienced some of the warmest water of the year-round swimming challenge!

Arges River Delta, Romania


Month no. 10 – May 2021

Ionian Sea ~ Gjipe Beach, Albania

Albania was a breath of fresh air and I realised again (after Egypt!) how corrupt the European Union is in imposing laws and pushing restrictions that are senseless. There were none observed in Albania. Anyway, I came back recharged. We both did! One of the most beautiful beaches we explored in Albania was Gjipe. The coolest way to get to it is to hike to it; it’s not difficult and it doesn’t take more than 15-20’. There were few people when we arrived, the water was cool but so refreshing… as the air was very hot at the beginning of May. I swam for about 1 hour – I couldn’t bring myself to get out. Definitely one of my longest continuous swims over the year.

Swim in the Ionian Sea; Gjipe Beach, Albania


Month no. 11 – June 2021

Crişul Pietros River, Romania

Close to its source (on the way to Padiş), Crişul Pietros is one of the most beautiful and cleanest rivers I’ve seen in Romania… and its shade is light turquoise. It was calling us both. I entered first. ‘How is it?’ asked Marcel. ‘My soul has frozen’ I replied.

Note to self: even June can be a difficult month for a swim!

Top 3 (my third favourite)

Crisul Pietros River, Romania


Month no. 12 – July 2021

Black Sea ~Vadu Beach, Romania

My dream was to have my final swim in the Danube Delta, but the mosquitoes were definitely crazy this year, so we moved on to the seaside. Marcel and I had been to Vadu before, but this was our first swim there. It was long and refreshing after the storm.

Vadu, Romania


So, officially, there were

5 swims in the sea (2*Black Sea, 1*Ionian Sea, 2*Red Sea)

4 swims in rivers (Danube, Dunărea Veche, Argeş, Crişul Pietros)

2 swims in a lake (Buhui, Pădureni-Moacşa)

1 swim in a mineral spring (Peteni)

Unofficially, there were many more in the 3 countries mentioned and I enjoyed each to the full!

Because, even if swimming pools are nice, too, nothing can beat nature!

So I decided to continue for another year. No segregation law can take away the joy that simple things can bring into one’s heart! ♥ 


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