Prrrrrrt! Swimming pools, like any other enclosed public space, run on rules both official and unwritten to ensure safety and hygiene – with the clarion call of the lifeguard’s whistle policing it all.
But different countries have different waters; and Vienna’s pool system has its own rules, some universal, some specific to the city. So when you’re taking a dip, take nothing for granted: Read this list before living the life aquatic, or you might get caught with your underwear on!
1. Lifeguards always know what rules you are breaking
The Badewaschl (lifeguard) follows the same protocol as everywhere: They blow their whistles just as much before telling you exactly which rule you ignored. They just might save you from drowning if they don’t save you from swimming first.
2. No underwear allowed
In case you were planning on wearing something underneath your trunks – don’t. Barring the ability to regulate the cleanliness of undergarments, pools have decided it’s best to remove the variable from the equation. While it’s a valiant effort at hygiene, there’s nothing stopping maniacs from wearing filthy swimsuits.
3. Don’t come in your swimsuit
You thought that you would conveniently wear your swimsuit underneath your clothes – or instead of your shorts? Think again!! You can’t wear your swimsuit when you walk in, because of all the nasty pathogens living all over you.
4. No shoes allowed near the pool
Have shoes? No Service! In the interest of keeping things clean and healthy, pools have decided that feet are cleaner than flip flops. So, turn around and take them off, no footwear by the pool.
5. No diving from the side – or anywhere
Trying to actually enter the water can be tricky: Some people casually slip in, with others trying to keep their hair dry as long as possible; yet others descend step by step to acclimate themselves to the temperature. Whatever your method is, don’t try diving, it’s almost certainly against the rules – except from the designated diving boards.
6. You MUST take a shower before entering the pool
Despite its inconvenience, this is a good rule to follow at ALL swimming pools, not just in Vienna. There is no telling what sort of dirt, fluids or microbes you are carrying before – or after – you walk into a swimming pool, or what others brought to the human stew. In a world plagued by children who need to pee, showering is prudent.
7. No photographs at all
Forget your phone, camera and camcorder, there is no photography allowed in the pool area. Whether to preserve the privacy of others or the historic architecture of the building, Vienna’s pools are a no-go zone for instagram.
If you’re the type that prefers everything “under wraps,” be wary of European swimming pools in general. Public nudity while swimming is a time-held tradition here, with many pools permitting topless sunbathing and naked children running around a common sight. Some areas like the Lobau are famous as FKK (Freikörperkultur, or clothing optional) areas, so be warned: some things cannot be unseen.