Gymea Bay baths panorama - 1000pools

In late December, 2014, we flew out of New York to return to Australia.

We had a month’s holiday in Europe and I made sure to conquer a pool in each country we visited. Anything else would just be disrespectful to The Quest.

#358 – Eriksdalsbadet, Stockholm

A beautiful facility with two indoor 50m pools, plus a waterside and a small pool that goes outdoors. We were there in winter so it was well below zero outside with snow covering everything.

Oh, and there’s a sauna too. Of course. You’re in Sweden.

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#359 – Streatham, London, UK

The first pool of 2015.

When I lived in this area in the early 1990’s, there was a roller-skating rink or a needle exchange or something else unsavoury. I can’t quite remember. But this formerly unsightly part of Streatham’s come up in the world and this pool, while only 25m is very pleasant and clean.

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#360 – Montparnasse, Paris

Underneath the famous Montparnasse Tower, this is a nice pool. Only thing is, swimming is France is very difficult. For one thing, you have to wear Speedos. My two boys had what we call in Australia ‘board shorts’ and these were deemed illegal. No idea why. They had to purchase very skimpy and uncool Speedo-type swimmers from a vending machine. Then they could swim.

As you will note, I wear long Speedos. These were looked at with suspicion, but my no-nonsense walk and aggressive goggle-spinning saved me, I believe, from being tossed outside to the dogs. All this nonsense with the kids, meant I didn’t actually manage to complete the kilometre before the pool shut.

So, the next morning I was back before dawn to swim it again. Very nearly goes onto the  ‘Not Top 5’ list due to all the nonsense. However, the pool itself was very pleasant.

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#361 – Schwimmhalle Fischerinsel, Berlin

We stayed in the Novotel on the Museum Island, in the heart of Berlin. You can imagine my glee as, the first night when out for a walk getting our surrounds, I noted the long, single storey building with a wavy roof next door. I peered through. Schwimbad!!
Yes, I could sit in my hotel room and gaze down at the lap swimmers. Berlin in mid winter is pretty bleak, but a nice, clean lap pool, plus a great kiddie pool full of floating creatures, does wonders to lift the spirits.

#362 – Stadtbad Neukölln, Berlin

 Large and ornate, these baths were heavily damaged in the war. If it looks like the Versailles Palace in the photo, don’t be fooled. The place has definitely seen better days and the neighbourhood it’s in … hmmm.
That said, we had a great hour or so there with the kids running amok and yelling and screaming and getting in the way of the locals. Great stuff.

#363 Centro Sportivo Villa Flaminia, Rome

It’s fair to say that lap swimming isn’t a the national pastime in Italy that it is in Australia. I had almost given up finding a pool in winter that was, A) open and, B) open for a visiting Australian.

My very patient concierge rang and rang pools and sports clubs all over Rome explaining my plight. It became clear early on that the kids weren’t able to join me due to ‘scheduling issues’ so one morning, nice and early, I hopped in a cab and headed north through some truly beautiful parklands.

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CS Villa Flaminia

#364 – Titanic Business Hotel, Istanbul

If swimming in Italy was difficult, it was nothing compared to Turkey. And in winter.

My concierge deserves a medal for the committed effort he took in ringing clubs and hotels in order to track down something, anything, that I could swim in. Hotel pools seem to be the way to go, but as I was there in winter, a lot of them were closed. So, an indoor hotel pool needed to be found.

And it was, at the suspiciously named, ‘Titanic Business Hotel’. This was the most expensive swim I’ve ever undertaken. Entry alone was $110, plus the cab ride there and back. Effectively, I bought a day pass to the spa (and no about of negotiating got me out of having a massage first).

It was nice, clean and I had it (almost) to myself.

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Titanic Hotel, Istanbul

#365 – Gymea Baths, Sydney

Back home after two years away. Somehow, I’d missed this quiet spot on Gymea Baths.

The day I swam it was all mine and the smell of the eucalyptus and the clear, clear water and the fact that I was in the middle of the biggest city in the country made me realise what a special place Australia is.

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Gymea Bay baths

Porpoise blue for map

Aquatic Regards, The Porpoise

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