Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 8: Samiclaus Swim

Christmas Advent Day 8: Samiclaus Swim

On Sunday we had a great day taking Val, my MIL, around Zürich to all the Christmas markets and on our usual city tour, and at 2 pm I INSISTED that we go and see the Samiclaus Swim from the Pier 7 Restaurant at Schifflande to the women’s open-air bathing area at the Stadtquai...

Here is how the conversation went when I explained to Val what we were going to see:

Me: Ok, we HAVE to go to the Samiclaus Swim at 2 pm. Ok? So we will have lunch and then head to the swim.

Val: What is that?

Me: Well, a whole bunch of people are going to swim across the river in Santa Claus suits and it is going to be AWESOME.

Val: Oh my. Why are they doing that?

Me: Because they are CRAZYYYYYYYYYYYY.

Val: Won't it be cold?

Me: Um.......... IT IS INSANELY COLD. You could not pay me enough to do this myself... but it is going to be AWESOMEEEE. (Note, the temps were just above freezing yesterday!)

And it was. At 2 pm on the dot the first group of crazy Santas swam across the river, with Santa hats, some with suspenders, and with shrinking bits and all... even some women! It was especially interesting to see the style that the Santas used - some were quick in and quick out and some looked like they were in for a casual stroll across the Limmat, not daring put their faces into the water.

I love how the little Santa hats just bobbed across the river. ;)

As soon as they got to the other side, the swimmers quickly stumbled across the deck into warm blankets and hot towels. Boy these suspenders were something as well!
Then as soon as the swimmer picked up their kit, it was into the showers, into the saunas and into a hot cuppa something... boy, these rudoph hats were something as well.

There were plenty of spectators for this one, even on a cold and overcast day and I would definately recommend it for a bit of fun inbetween the Christmas markets. But where did Santa's packages go, eh? (Sorry, I had to get that in at least one more time...)

The Samiclaus Swim everyone... I don't think these men and women will be warm again for a long, long time... but it is a great Zürich Christmas tradition!


juanitatortilla said...

Oh yikes! Why didn't I see this one?
I was in town with my folks last Sunday. But we had a little walk-about in the very, very crowded Christmas market at HB.
And you know what, I lost my patience and gave up my spot in that long line for those deep-fried-apples with vanilla sauce!!! Will wait for my turn again, soon.

Joanna "Serowa Marzycielka" said...

The Samiclaus Swim seems to be one of the most funny & crazy things people do in CH in the Christmas time ;D I wish we had that tradition too...

Jessica said...

Yeah they are crazy! It was fun to watch on the pier but the pier was so narrow and there were so many people that I feared falling into the river myself! Definitely something to see once.

Bluefish said...

That's fascinating! A lot interesting stuff going on in Switzerland.

Joanna "Serowa Marzycielka" said...


didn’t you want to join those people and become a Samiclaus Swimmer? I mean, if it’s a tradition... ;)

Jessica said...

You know, Joanna... I sometimes think things like... 'You only live once! You should jump in next year! Just slather on the whale fat and jump in...easy peasy.'

But then I think about how cold it will be and how far it is and how I might sink like an ice cube to the bottom of the river, never to be found again, and I think... that's ok. I am fine right here. :)

Expat Traveler said...

I think a lot of those swimmers are part of the Limmat masters swim team, but I cannot be for sure. They are red which is waaaay too cold for my liking..

Great shots! By the way, just found your blog and I love it!


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