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Fiume Cesano

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Swimming Bravely in a Cold Mountain River Pergola  Italy

Swimming Bravely in a Cold Mountain River

One day when my boyfriend and I spent hours bent over picking garlic flowers in the sun while WWOOFing (volunteering at an organic farm in exchange for room and board), the heat got the best of us and we begged the family to take us swimming.

We mostly got laughter in reply. Apparently, although they love swimming, they refuse to go in May. The mountain water feeding the river, the mom said, would probably be no warmer than 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

"We'll be fine," we said. And one of the sons agreed to take us to the nearby Cesano river.

The water was as cold as they said. And the son read his law book perched on a rock while we made our feeble attempts to stay in for more than 10 seconds at a time.

My feet hurt every time I dipped them in, the three laps I swam left me freezing for the rest of the day, and my boyfriend had a cold for four days after our adventure.

But the place was secluded, clean, and sprinkled with waterfalls. There's also a nice place to jump. My boyfriend and I would both risk a week of coughing for another visit, and we're dying for a chance to go back in August when the temperature is supposed to be more tolerable.