At the Swimming Pool

First time at Nordbad


As a Pisces, swimming and being near water is a bit of a life force within me. I love German pools once I get the hang of them. It’s not just a swim, it’s a whole way of life! You could spend the whole day at these places if you wanted to. They have plastic sun loungers to crash out on, green plants to look at and relax you, and saunas, whirl pools and outside areas galore. But developing that sense of loyalty and commitment to a particular pool always takes a bit of effort from me with each new encounter. On first acquaintance I often feel like I need a degree in engineering to work out what (and who) goes where. My exprience at Nordbad was no exception……

February 2014

At Nordbad, the first thing you encounter once you’ve got through the whole entrance palava, are little boxes (with keys in them) visible from the entrance. It’s clear that’s where I should put my valuables (I watch other people) but why won’t the little boxes shut when I try? Do they want the card I’ve been given or a euro? It’s not at all clear.

Then there’s the cubicles. I would like these to be near my big locker (this locker has a different key to the valuable’s locker). Geographically it IS near my cubicle but alas! There is a transparent barrier preventing me from walking directly to the locker from my cubicle. I have to walk ALL THE WAY TO THE END OF THE CUBICLE SECTION before I gain access to the locker department, all very carefully, neatly and efficiently arranged together. Today, after some quick mathematical deductions and altering of my spatial awareness, I got the key to my second locker, dropped off my coat(s)shoes and laptop (yes I know I was breaking the rules here ‘cos technically that’s valuable but it wouldn’t fit in the first ‘valuables’ locker) then I tip toed back to the cubicle to get changed. …….

“How the George Dickens do I close the doors to the cubicle?” I asked myself  “There are 2 doors in my cubicle! Each with a bloody great metal bar aligned next to it. Got to get the timing right or I will either trap a finger or expose my dignity. If I put the metal bar down on the door to the right, the door to the left is still open, unless I time it very carefully.”

Making sure no one was walking past to create a breeze or other disturbing factor I hopped from side to side of the cubicle trying to time the dropping of the two metal bars simultaneously so as to close the doors. It took several attempts.

By the time I got into the pool (I’d tell you about the flip-flops and the pre-swim shower but you might lose the will to live)  I was already feeling rather battered and bruised. So much for a ‘relaxing’ afternoon swim. Once in the water I began my lengths. But it was not long before certain males of the species started to elbow and kick me with, apparent enthusiasm. Saying sorry afterwards does not make it ok guys!!!

And as if that wasn’t enough, I had to watch so many strutting peacocks preen themselves with no sense of decorum or occasion whatsoever. One of the peacocks did pull-ups on the spring board – I mean, per-lease! even the life-guard started doing pull ups on the DOOR of his office!! THEN there was the guy who casually let his towel drop en route to the sauna. NO. JUST NO. I mean in the sauna, fine – in the changing rooms if you must, but not on public display by the side of a pool! I am known for my open-minded views and out of the box thinking, but dangly bits, no matter how magnificent, most definitely belong in the box.

Then there were the vultures…..oh dear. This species just sat on the side of the pool with their ridiculous guts hanging between their open legs and just ogled…..YUK! Call me old fashioned (or just plane old) but a bit of courtesy and indeed modesty goes a long way if you’re trying to impress a girl and even if you’re not.

Eventually, to save body and soul and to find something different for my eyes to do, I adopted a new swimming stroke, “The Face Off’. This involved my ploughing down the lanes like some kind of crazed, enormous container vessel and adopting a facial expression that said “Come near me and I’ll sink you”. It worked, but clearly my days as a single woman are set to increase….

To add insult to injury, once I got out of the pool I sort refuge in the showers – and was promptly stared at, open mouthed by half a dozen under 10s.You know that feeling? If they had pointed they could not have been less subtle……AND? AND little girl?

Working out the logistics of a German pool is always worth the effort in the long run if you want to establish a good relationship with it – which is why I’ll be returning to the magnificent Dante Bad next week!

Sarah Halliday


February 2014

in Kochelsee in the rain
Keeping it simple. Swimming in Kochelsee in the rain. No cubicles, no peacocks and the whole lake to myself! July 2015