rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
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Both children love swimming. Charles is a competent casual swimmer, Nicholas is still in beginner swim lessons and needs the full-time attention of an adult whenever out of his depth. So I like to take them swimming whenever possible, and made sure to pack swimming things for this holiday.

So far we have managed 2 pools in Helsinki, 1 on the ferry, and 2 in Stockholm.

In Helsinki we visited the Allas Sea Pool, a set of three outdoor pools literally floating on the sea in front of Helsinki's Market Square. Two of them are filled with heated treated water, one big (for swimming lanes and/or playing) and one children's pool, all shallow. And then there's the deep pool filled with (filtered and UV-treated) sea water from the Baltic, not heated at all. Charles and I both took a turn taking a jump in it, and neither of us stayed in long! I felt pretty euphoric after my swift length; Charles said he was never doing that again. I didn't let Nicholas even try.

Charles and I also visited the local pool near our flat in Pasila, Mäkelänrinne. It has a huge 50-metre lane pool which we ignored, a gently-sloping children's pool, and a bigger "leisure" pool with jacuzzi-bubble seats along one side and fierce massage-showers at one end. And a plunge pool, kept at 6-8°C. We both went in that a few times and found it quite the challenge. I was amused, towards the end of our visit, when a small group of teenage boys turned up and kept hanging out in the plunge pool together, displaying no signs at all of discomfort. (Both these pools had amazing showers and the apparently-obligatory sauna, but both times I forgot to pack extra towels for sitting on, so we couldn't use them.)

On the Viking Line ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm there is a sauna (of course), which has a tiny "play pool" for children, two bubble pools, a steam room, a cold plunge pool (that was definitely not as cold as the one in Mäkelänrinne), all of which one uses with swimming things on. The saunas were reached through the gender-segregrated changing rooms (yeah, the gender binary is strong here, I should write about that some other time) and disposable towels for sitting on naked were provided. The women's one had a porthole at one end, which was kind of cool. Charles reported the men's one did not, but he really, really enjoyed his first experience of sauna. I warned him about not staying too long or getting too hot, and made sure he rehydrated afterward, and he was incredibly mellow the rest of the evening. Nicholas meanwhile, sat on the bottom shelf of the women's sauna for about 5 minutes before getting bored, so I didn't get much time looking out of that porthole.

In Stockholm, the nearest pool to our airbnb was closed until next week due to summer timetabling, but its website suggested two others. We went to Farsta first, which had a 25m pool, half set up for lanes, half with a prominent LEK sign. Plus a hot tub, and a shallow learners pool, and a water-play area for small children which included a cave and a slide. And sauna, but given the choice between twenty minutes more in the pool before closing or a sauna, Charles chose pool.

The next day we went to Eriksdalbadet, which was on a much more amazing scale. Multiple heated outdoor pools, and indoors a huge 50m pool, a 25m lanes pool (also with an area marked LEK), and the "water park" with two slides, a small "river", a jacuzzi-pool cave, and an area where you could swim outside. Plus hot tub, plus sauna in both indoor and outdoor changing rooms. This time I had packed extra towels and left enough time, so Charles got to have his sauna, and I spent 5 minutes sitting in mine with Nicholas answering a constant stream of questions, which I think/hope was amusing our fellow occupant of the sauna.
Today we arrived in Copenhagen and our current airbnb in Fredericksberg is a very short walk from another local pool, plus there are a number of others I am investigating in case we have time for a second one ...
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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

September 2017

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