After being AWOL for a good chunk of July and the first couple days of this month, sunshine has finally returned to the Swedish Riviera, prompting Dr. Darling and I to take our first swim of the year on Wednesday evening.
Granted, there have been other opportunities to dip earlier in the summer, but we were committed to taking our first plunge of 2009 at the same location where we took our last plunge of 2008, Malmö's Kallbadhus. We took my brother there for a New Year's Eve sauna and skinny dip…a trip made even more memorable by the fact that it was also Dr. Darling's first-ever winter plunge experience. Then there was the little matter of me mistaking a passing stranger for my Swede and extending a friendly tap on the bare ass while wishing her a hearty good luck as she descended the stairs for the frigid water. So in my case, Wednesday's outing kind of qualified as "returning to the scene of the crime."
At any rate, the historic facility was closed for renovations and repairs on New Year's Day and did not re-open until mid-July. We made several attempts to go last month but were thwarted by crummy weather each time. The Öresund never really gets all that warm in the summer, so being able to sit in the sun after getting out of the water is kind of key to the whole swimming experience…especially for Dr. Darling, who does not have as much natural insulation as I do, if you get my drift.
So when the sunshine was still abundant when I got home from work late yesterday afternoon, we high-tailed it down to Ribersborg with our towels. One of the many wonderful things about swimming at the kallbadhus is that you don't need a suit. And once I got over the standard inbred American prudishness about nekkidness…I discovered that this is actually my preferred way to swim. When I lived in the U.S., skinny-dipping was rare and only occurred at night. But in Sweden (and lots of other European countries, frankly) hitting the water "au natural" is very common and to be honest, very liberating in broad daylight.
The renovation was primarily of the decks, which are really nice. But the new management has also implemented a couple of changes, including the addition of a co-ed sauna and the possibility that a staff member of the opposite sex could appear on either the women's or men's side at any time. And sure enough, the guy who was working the ticket window stocked the wood fire in one of the women's saunas while we were there.
We had a fabulous time…with a good sweat in the sauna, a swim in the sea and some basking in the evening sun And since we bought a clip card for 10 visits, we'll be going back again soon!