Brief tonight because I am blogging in the bathroom while my roomie sleeps..

After we had sung the Lido Song on a frozen river, Charlotte quoted Lewis Carroll: “There’s nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends”.

Today we cheered and laughed and competed with thirty-three other nations.  We met again others who share our enthusiasm, including Jacek, who treated us like royalty at the Polish Ice Swimming Championships in December.  He is a modest man, so we only found out later that he was the first democratically elected mayor of Gdansk and a champion of friendship and understanding between nations. We renewed and strengthened many bonds with others with whom we share no common language but swimming.

Tonight we went on a snowmobile safari, fifty of us in convoy heading out along the frozen river as night fell. We sang the Lido Song in the Arctic circle. We shared food and friendship around the fire built by our excellent guides. We watched the clouds clear and the stars come out until the sky was a blanket of glittering lights. And as we were leaving, they came. Shy, tentative and by no means as bright as they can be, but definitely there and definitely wonderful: the great crown of the North, the Aurora Borealis. We saw the Northern Lights.