Breaking the Ice in Sweden

Exactly 1 year ago, we did something stupid. It all started at a party in mid January, over what seemed like an innocent conversation with my friend Chris. We were talking about how all the lakes had frozen, and how some people were starting to go ice skating over them. Chris was also talking about his grandfather, who apparently used to go swimming in the sea in Norway every day until mid November, when he would stop due to the water being too cold…

Sunday came and it was too late to back off. We were either tough guys or chickens. And nothing personal against chickens, I love them, but our reputation was in play: we had to be tougher than Chris’ grandfather.

Chris lived near Bromma, really close to Stockholm’s biggest lake, called Mälaren. On my way to his house, I couldn’t stop but noticing that it was indeed really cold, despite the 4 layers of clothes that I had on. I tried to use a technique that a friend once taught me… He had said: “Pretend that you are colder than the cold, so that it will seem like the air is warm in comparison”. I tried it, but it was total bull**** and didn’t work. Anyway, I rang the bell, and Chris came out smiling. “Let’s do this” he said.

We walked a couple of hundred meters until we got to the edge of the ice. We wanted to swim, and everyone knows that you can’t swim on ice. So we walked a bit more until we found a dock that went in about 20 meters into the lake, all covered in snow. However, the ice was so thick that we couldn’t break it. So we went back and found/took a metal bar from a traffic sign, which we used to do a hole in the ice…

And right then, the reality hit us: The water was indeed pretty damn cold, and we were going to go swimming in it, without anyone watching, without any saunas, towel, sun, or even common sense. But we’d gone too far to go back. Chris jumped in the water while I stayed out, in case he would need help to go out. He seemed ok, so I jumped in too 😀

And yes, it was damn frozen. We stayed in for about 1-2 minutes (which seemed like a couple of hours), swimming a bit around while giggling at our own stupidity. After our moment of glory was over, we crawled however we could out of the water, and put on our clothes as fast as we could, which was pretty slow since we couldn’t feel or move our fingers. We felt like we were 3 times heavier, and the metal bar that we used to break the ice somehow seemed to have increased its weight 10 times.

After a long struggle, we got home. Victory was ours. We had achieved something that few men had done in the past… Well ok I’m totally exaggerating but it’s nice to feel like a super hero some times 😀 But most importantly, we had proved a point: We were tougher than Chris’ grandfather.


Written by Jesús

20 Jan 2015