Lake Aegeri is not big and you can go around it in 4 hours on a stand-up paddle. I did so and I looked at all the buildings from the water. You get insights there, which you would never get from the shore. But about halfway around the lake it started to wind, and it got stronger and stronger.
Unfortunately, it was winding against me, which made it much more difficult to move around. At some point it was so strong that I had to get down on my knees to move forward at all.
After 3 hours I was quite tired and gave up the roundtrip and decided to traverse back to my starting point. The wind died down a bit and the waves disappeared again. Suddenly I saw something floating in the water. It was probably a branch or a piece of wood I thought. But the movement of the branch looked strange. So, I tried to get closer to see what it was. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was close enough. It was a snake, a swimming snake. I did not know that snakes can swim so well. But the bigger surprise was that I was in the middle of the lake. If I had been 1 meter away from the shore, like in the previous 3 hours, it would still have been understandable. But here, in the middle of the lake, so far from the shore! I was amazed and had to make a substantial correction to my knowledge of snakes. They swim, and obviously very well.
About a month later in Ascona I was swimming in Lake Maggiore. It was wonderful. The water was pleasant, everything was calm, I had a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains. After about an hour when I came out of the water, I stopped at the shore. The shore was full of grey stones. Somehow, I had the feeling that something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell what it was. I took a closer look at the shore and discovered a snake that lay between the stones and completely disappeared in color. In its throat she had a fish, but what a fish. The fish was almost twice as wide as the snake itself. Obviously, I witnessed a lunch.
I watched the snake and thought it would last forever until the snake had choked the fish inside. But I was again wrong. Within 5 minutes the spectacle was over. The snake disappeared immediately afterwards in the lake and swam away. I was amazed. Yes, I must admit that my knowledge about native species of snakes in Europe has nothing to do with the experienced reality at all.
I would never have believed that snakes could catch a fish. I did not know that they consciously go swimming. As naive as I was, I thought they avoided water. But I am not afraid now, and I can still swim in the lake. In a quiet minute, however, I must learn more about the animals. Either I did not really pay attention in zoology back then or we did not learn it at all. It is always exciting.