When any of my family members or friends question me about my experience to Lithuania, I don’t think any of them expect me to tell them that the Baltic Lakes was an unforgettable experience and one that I will remember for a lifetime.
This trip was truly magical and no matter what type of swimmer you are this is a must do when adding any trip to that bucket list! As you read through the SwimTrek page it mentions how we are based in the Aukštaitija National Park surrounded by the hundreds of 200-year-old pine trees. Let me tell you now, this does not give justice to how diverse and unique this location is. These forests are unbelievably humbling and really give you an indication of how small you are! The bonus though is the fact you’re surrounded by an astonishing amount of rare species of flowers and wildlife alike too!
Being an ex-pool swimmer I have to admit I was a little reserved into what all of this open water swimming malarkey was all about. Needless to say I soon enough fell in love with the sport quickly after my initial swim across Lake Lūšiai. (An easy 1km ‘dash’ the guide told me…) After this the swims became more and more enjoyable, the guides were great at making us feel relaxed in the water and were able to really test my limits when it came to things like pacing and sighting. It was great to also see that it didn’t matter whether you were a fast swimmer or a slower swimmer; the itinerary and knowledge of the guides meant that all swimmers got something out of the trip without feeling they were too fast or too slow for the entire group.
The really inspiring thing for me, was being part of a group of swimmers all from different countries, all with completely different swimming backgrounds coming together for four special days of swimming. Never before had I thought about how much I would enjoy the concept of swimming through remote fresh water lakes with like-minded individuals side by side. I can’t begin to explain or express the feeling of being set free from tumble turns too! The bane of my swimming career for so many years! It’s safe to say too, in becoming a ‘SwimTrekker' it completely changed my perception of swimming and I soon realised the sense of community SwimTrek captures. After every swim, everyone encouraged each other and if anyone needed support or advice on their technique the entire group was happy to give help.
And then there was the Tiki Inn… This will always hold a special place in my memories due to the hosting and friendly service of the staff there; they really made you feel like a family member not a holiday maker. The Inn is nestled between the trees and on the banks of the Lake Lusiai, and is a dream house - Not only does Matthew (the owner) provide a unique Lithuanian experience and massive breakfast and dinner, the extra activities you can get up to after the swims. My down time consisted of hikes, paddle-boarding, additional swimming and chilling in traditional Swedish hot tubs.
If I had to sum up my time in the Baltic Lakes in three words I think they would be spectacular, inspiring and refuelling for the soul.