Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Lake

Early July was really hot in the Czech Republic. Temperature records were broken right across the country and it even got close to 40*C in the shade in a couple of places. Thank goodness for the lake.

There seems to be a bit of a fondness here for naming places after other places. Czech Switzerland and Czech Canada are two notable ones that spring to mind, and even if somewhere is not officially named after somewhere else, it might sport a nickname like the 'Venice of Hána' (Litovel) or the 'Athens of Hána' (Kroměříž). Monikers like this are meant quite earnestly, but the irreverent Czech sense of humour finds it way into lots of others. Right across the country there are patches of wasteland called ‘Siberia’, and any isolated lagoon suitable for smoking dope and nude sunbathing is called ‘Amerika’.

What does all this have to do with the heat? Well, we swim at Poděbrady. Not the 800-year-old spa town with the chateau beside the mighty Labe River; this Poděbrady is a disused gravel quarry filled with fresh water from a narrow arm of the Morava river.

It mightn’t be the greatest Poděbrady, but it’s our Poděbrady. It’s only about five kilometres from town, so we usually cycle. The trip is simple, cross a couple of streets, cut past the aeroplane bar, through the football stadium carpark and then we’re at the mill channel, which is followed by a dedicated cycle trail the whole way to the lake.

The lake is shallow and sandy and you can still see your feet when you’re standing chest deep, which, having grown up beside the Murray River in Australia, I think is a reasonable measure of clearness for fresh water. We usually swim from the island, which seems to be the preferred place of a lot of people. Since the beer caravan, however, was relocated from the island over to the eastern shore, that part of the lake has steadily become more popular with lots of swimmers.

Soon they’ll be calling it "Plzeň".


Anonymous said...

Yes you certainly see some interesting characters out at the lake of a summers day. Alot of Czechs really enjoy their sunbathing and beer. The nuda section I found particularly interesting.

Anonymous said...

Great photos