A pink taxi

A pink taxi

August 18, 2011

Geneve Plage

Bus 2 and 6, winter or summer, will post GENEVE PLAGE above their large Volvo or Mercedes windshield. It lends a merrier feel to the otherwise winter cold dreary public transport ride. I used to take Bus2 to boarding school in the opposite direction and never knew the joyful summer feel of a ride to the outdoor swimming pool of Geneva.

The only pool that I can personally compare to this one is the Monaco Port. Exceptional case here, the Monaco and Geneva addresses don't carry an ounce of pretension.

When I step in either, I walk into 1950s socialism. You would think larger than life Eastern European champions swim in these pools where the bluest water contrasts strongly with the all-cement. Everything is cement from the entrance, the uncomfortable bleachers, the outdoor shower stalls, the cafe and the lockers. This is a socialist public pool system that relies on very strict obedience of rules: every activity has its section, be it swimming laps, playing, diving. And the hygiene is clinical. The changing rooms reek of bleach and there is no escaping the freezing foot bath before entering the pool premises.

But Geneve Plage is much more charming because a vaster complex than the understandibly narrow area given to the Olympic size pool in Monaco. Its a question of ratio!

Geneve Plage is always overcrowded on a sunny summer day. You are welcomed by a brouhaha of juvenile laughter. The lap pools never, ever empty. I have swam laps with my son frequently, up to 3.5 kms the other time (a record). Swimmers keep their lanes like on a highway. I see some leave and more arrive. Non-stop.

I quote Michael Phelps in Shanghai for the FINA: "I think with everything, with warm ups, warm downs, races it was 40,000 meters and it was a fairly intense week." I thought about him as I swam my 72 lengths and calculated that he swam an average of 6 kms a day or 120 lengths. My son and I swam more than half his distance once: we'll get there soon. If it means going to Geneve Plage!

As for the younger ones, I took them there for their birthday celebration for the first time. They marveled at the magic of it all: the large slide endlessly and for free, the proximity of the lake, the playground in the shade of the trees and the sight of the serious swimmers in the lap area. No wonder their mom and big brother came so frequently and stayed so long!

1 comment:

  1. As I was taking my daily walk through the narrow streets of Monaco,I saw a poster for the 50th anniversary of the public swimming pool at the Stade Nautique Rainier III on Port Hercule overlooking one of the most famous ports in the world.The salt water Olympic size pool(entry €5),witnesses the famous yearly Monaco Grand Prix race,and had an equestrian competition held in its parking lot this year.It is also surrounded by various games set for children during summer,that make my grandchildren yearn to participate in.