With the warm and sunny weather we are having in Kyiv, I thought I would go to the beach. “Hold on,” I hear the geographically gifted object, “Kyiv is not by the sea.”
Well, actually it kind of is because the Dnieper river connects the city with the Black Sea and is wide enough to allow large ships to come all the way up here.
If you want to catch a boat, this is the port, although it didn’t seem to be very active.
And indeed, there are beaches.
There used to be ice on the river in winter, as shown in this painting by Ivan Aivazovsky from 1872. But nowadays, both the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the nuclear waste dump of Prydniprovsky chemical plant are keeping the water warmer than usual.
But even ice wouldn’t have stopped the old lady I saw on Trukhaniv Island. I was sitting there, reading a book and smoking a cigar, thinking I am the only person enjoying the beach. An old lady with a woolen cap and a thick purple jacket walked down to the river, probably oblivious to my presence, took off her clothes (there was a really chilly wind which made me shiver despite wearing all my clothes), and went swimming. The exercise lasted only about ten seconds, but still, I was impressed. She got dressed again and continued with her daily routine, probably going to the post office or shopping.
The water temperate of the river in December is 3 degrees Celsius, and that’s already with radioactivity.