Friday, 26 August 2011

A Bare Adventure or: My Larry David Moment

My dears, I am exhausted and I do not feel silly at all. What happened? Tonight, after work, I cycled to another lido in Vienna, a big lido, not at the Alte Donau but at the Neue Donau. I went there a few times, it is open 24/7. When I arrived there, I asked a few guys if they would be so kind and look after my clothes (the lido is an open space, no lockers, no keys around).

The moment I wanted to pull the bathing suit out of my bag I realized, I did not bring it with me.

There are some areas known as nude-bathing-areas but the one where I landed was definitely not a nude bathing zone. So I decided to walk away from the guys, elegantly – as if I had not asked them 5 seconds before to look after my stuff – and left my clothes as close to the water as I could, covering myself with my huge towel and diving into the water, throwing the towel back to the shore the moment before I dived into the water. The water is so opaque and it was already getting dark, I did not fear that I could offend anyone with my nude appearance in the water.
The bathing suit that was supposed to come with me and might have saved me from some trouble, if only I had not forgotten it on the office where it hang to dry from the swim the day before. (here it hangs in the bathroom, still not dry)

I swam and swam and checked my keys around my waist - I had planned to tuck them into the cleavage of my bathing suit, the safest place to keep keys on a belt during a swim. Not today. Since they were not secured in my cleavage but dangling, I had to check every few seconds if they were still there.
My "bathing suit" of tonight.

And I swam and I swam, one way. The water is a dammed up stream. Tonight was the last really warm night, with a strong breeze blowing from the south. I was surprised how well I had improved on my speed since I've started swimming on a regulary basis a few weeks ago, I got so far in no time! ... yes, I made it far but I did NOT improve on my swimming speed. I already feared it might have been the drift and not my muscle strength that got me so far in no time.
The moment I turned around and my fears where affirmed: It was the wind, blowing from the south, which had created a streaming that got me way further than I had planned to go and the waves I had not noticed before, because I had been swimming in their direction, now were slapping against my face. (This is where the tragic Larry David moment sets in, the happy tune changes to the dramatic tune).

I could see the people, promenading - the swim had brought me up north to the more populated area at the lido while I was fighting to get back.
Leaving the water and walking back, naked along the promenade with my barb-wire-key-belt around my waist was definitely NO option.

The place where my clothes and my towel waited for me seemed to be out of reach. It was getting darker and darker, already 30 mins past sunset. And 1 km left to swim against the drift. I decided to swim closer to the shore, so I would feel safer and might change to walking in the water. This thought did not include the algea, growing up to the top of the water. Now I was not only swiming against the drift but also struggling with my feet to get rid of the algeas that wrapped around my feet and legs, not to forget the regular key-check, if they where still there. The area is known for thefts, I imagined how I would wander around in the dark, naked with the keybelt, asking people to give me their clothes because I would not even have a bathing suit to get back home (people sometimes need to get home in their bathing suits due to thefts). On my way to the lido I had passed a restaurant and a waitress was wearing a company-T-shirt. I imagined they might have one extra T-shirt for me, so I could tie a borrowed towel around my hip and wear the T-shirt. You can tell I had plenty of time for every kind of thougts.

This meant to be a fun-trip after work! Well, it seemed as if everyone at the lido was having a good time, except for me. I just said to myself "stupid stupid stupid". Finally, I arrived at the starting point, my towel was still there, my clothes where were I had left them before. I covered myself with the towel, left the water, sat down on the grass and stared at the peach-pink-violet-brown shades this tropic sky over the city provided tonight. Inside I was trembling.

I don't know if you can relate to Larry David, I for myself know it helped me make it through the situation. During the worse parts I felt like Lisa who once fell ill in India and believed she was going to die. Lisa combated the anxieties of youth and solo travel. No one knew where I was at that moment, the water is opaque, no chance to get saved. All they would find two days later would be my bicycle, chained to the light pole at the promenade.

During the better parts I felt like Kristin, who once believed she had a jailbraker in the back of her car and lost her cool. Either way, I was not alone, with my keybelt in the opaque drift at nightfall, some of your stories were with me. Now I added mine, still a bit short of breath.

I am so glad the heat wave will finally break tomorrow night, we had 98°F for 5 days in a row. Did I already tell you, I prefer cool climates?


  1. What a great story. I can imagine both exhilaration and distress.

  2. wow what a story - and you told it so well!

  3. Paula that swim sounds like it was charged with adrenaline as was the retelling...I thought the keys would end up lost!

  4. Lisa, exhilaration and distress is exactly what I felt, not the best pair.

    Sparrowsandsparkles, thank you for your compliment!

    Hostess, hehehe. I thought so too - that it would not turn out well in some point.

  5. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! First of all I give you credit for having the confidenceto hop in naked! I would never have the courage. ever! Isn't it something how we do things like that and then - so mad at ourselves for getting ourselves into these kind of situations! Loved the way you told the story!!!!
    Heehee thank you for the shout out about my jail break story! ha!

  6. Paula!
    Is this an Austrian thing?
    I will have to quiz Elisabeth if she did nude swims in the middle of Vienna.
    I cannot believe you swam nude - I can't.
    In a million years i would not have the confidence to do this.
    I love the thoughts that whizzed through your head - that I can definitely relate to.
    Lots of love
    Now - I have my homework on my blog - after reading your story I know you can help me.

  7. to all - please excuse the spelling-mistakes in the posting, I was head over fingers, tying this posting. I hope not too many are left, I re-read the posting to erease the faults.

    as a child I spent several holidays on nude beaches in greece and even in Vienna! There is a nude beach close to the city center. O la la! Can you imagine the horror of my boyfriends, when I asked them to join my whole family at the beach! :-o

    Nudity is probably a European thing - in the UK as wall as in Greece, we all swim nude if we want to and if we are allowed to. Usually I prefer bathing suits (I rank them way over bikinis), because they deliver a certain "Diva-esque summer-style" which I adore.
    About the thoughts: Somehow we are all alike with our thoughts and finally meet here, in the Blogsphere and experience some comfort.
    PS: the only thing that does not fit in yet is the hammer, I am working on it!

  8. Well you had me at "Larry David," but the rest of it delivered!

    On the one hand I feel for you, awash in the algae and struggling against the current, getting nervous about your safety.

    On another I am picturing the road not taken -- you sauntering down the promenade with only your belt and keys for company, pretending as if it was intentional. [Perhaps whistling?]

    Glad you emerged (quickly!) by your belongings. I would have hated to miss THIS tale!

  9. Paula, You are a cracker!
    Love the help with my art subject.
    I am going to stalk you all semester now, I might as well write your name on my assignments when I hand them in.