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Community pools in Paris, Madrid, Lyon, San Francisco — a great way to get away from tourists

March 17th, 2017 · No Comments

I love community pools, as I think many of you know. I mourn the loss of the Mount Pleasant pool near me and I’m an ardent fan of New Brighton. The NPA campaign promise that got me the most excited was the one to build three new outdoor pools.

As a result of all that, when I travel, I’m a sucker for any hotel, agriturismo, resort, or Airbnb listing with a pool involved.

But what I love the most is not those private pools (though I do have a particular fondness for the one on the rooftop of the hotel I stayed at in Montevideo). It’s the local city pools wherever I go.

Here’s my Globe travel story on same.

I didn’t get to mention a few other anomalies I’ve discovered as I’ve swum my way through various cities

  • We in Vancouver don’t realize how lucky we are in how many pools we have and how much they are open. In Minneapolis, I could not find a community pool in the middle of summer. The Y was closed, the city pool was open only to members. I guess that’s a function of the fact that they have multiple lakes in the city that are open for swimming, which is where I ended up going, but still. Not a single pool in a building for visitors? In Seattle, many of the pools are closed on Sundays — can you imagine anyone going for that here? And in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the lovely local pool in a gorgeous old building was only available to members who paid a hefty sum per year — more than was worthwhile even for a week of swims there.
  • Pools show you the hidden side and the changes going on in a city. In Portland, the pool on the far east side of the city took me through areas where there was very little sign of the Portlandia hipsters who have become the caricatured symbol of the place At the pool in the Mississippi district, an area that has been undergoing a transformation from predominantly black area to hispter haven, it was obvious in the aquafit class, where there was a  mix of both demographics in the pool.

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