Swimming for Putney-Trieste
The city of Maximilian, Elizabeth, Generale, Joyce, Svevo and Burton. An historic port,a city by ,the sea. But first a swim.
The camp bible of travel, Monocle tells me “Bathing house Pedacin as Bagno Laterna is known, is unique in Italy for a wall that splits it off into men’s a women’s sections”. This dockside area is obviously something of a collector’s item and with the thought of putting on my Bondi Icebreaker Speedos without ogling looks, admiring glances and deep throated sighs, a must.
Only ten minutes from my central hotel. Along the grand front I go. My speedos, goggles and hotel towel in my small sack. But a minor disaster. Somehow I end up in massive lorry park for those waiting to get on the roll on ferry to Greece. I exchange words with two chaps waiting to take their crane on board.
I find a police man. He tells me that the Pedacin is closed for the winter, perhaps I should try the nearby Aquamarina, La Piscina Terapeutica di Trieste. For someone who has climbed the mighty Himalaya and swum in the endless Pacific there is no turning back. For four of my five days I start my day with a trip to the Aquamarina at 6.60 euros a pop.
It’s a small pool only 25 metres. It was not built in the city’s golden period of the late 19th century when Trieste flourished as the major port of the Austro Hungarian Empire. It was built I guess in the 1950s with an advanced Meccano set and some sheets of transparent corrugated plastic.
The pool is split into a two lane area for lap swimmers and rest for those who like to bob up and down with or without water wings. Next door is a small pool with wheel chair access. I think I get the hang of what Terapeutica might mean. With the salt water at 32C I have never been a warmer pool.
In no particular order one day the local Downs Syndrome Athletic Club came for a dip,what fun they had. Another day I noticed a man with his feet on the edge and his head on a float. Thirty minutes later my laps completed he was still in the same position. My Italian did not stretch to “There is a dead man in the pool”. Another day a blind man came into the changing room and tried to walk though a wall.
But the most disturbing was while I was changing, a Munster Hulk with hair down to his shoulders wearing an all in one Guantanamo blue suit and carrying a (sharpened?) comb ambled toward me. Was this a Palestinian youth looking for a Jewish pig to skewer? How did he know about my parentage? What was he doing here? I stayed as cool as possible, he ambled past mumbling Scusi.