40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#31: Seltjarnarneslaug

on June 10, 2012

hot pot with a viewLocation: Seltjarnarnes, Iceland

Configuration: 4 lanes of 25 meters + play area and 4 hot tubs

Fee: 500 ISK (Icelandic kronur), approximately $3.49

Fees to Date: $158.74

On my last day in Iceland, I wanted to squeeze in a visit to one more pool. I’d heard that the indoor-outdoor complex near where Elisabeth was staying was good enough to rival Laugardalslaug, but unfortunately it was closed for the day due to water-slide upgrades and other construction. Instead, I headed north of the Movie Star’s neighborhood to Seltjarnarnes Sundlaug, a beautiful, Modern facility with great views of  the sea and downtown Reykjavik.  The water slide wasn’t too shabby either. Unfortunately, I didn’t take as many pictures as I thought due to user error, so you will have to go see this pool for yourself.

pool view

Seltjarnarnes is a tiny, independent municipality at the end of the peninsula west of downtown Reykjavik. It’s got a beautiful lighthouse, a striking church, and a lot of athletic facilities. The pool uses pumped-in seawater, and it was clearer than the other Icelandic waters pools I’d seen. The degree of attention to design here was impressive as well. Clean lines, the simple wooden sauna structure, the cool whites and grays on the pool deck, and the bright tiles in the locker room all made me wonder who had gotten this commission.

The four lap lanes were definitely the least popular thing going here–no circle swimming necessary during my leisurely set. Instead, people lazed around in the hot pots and shallow hot tub, which had the best view of all. Small groups of teenagers were by far the largest contingent, and most of them did not budge from whatever spots they had staked out for the duration of my visit. I can think of worse ways for teenagers to pass their time.

My pool buddies had all either gone home or busied themselves with other activities, so I felt a bit lonely and old among all the teens, and yet I was content to soak in the sun and the warm water while enjoying the perspective on Reykjavik. One thing that struck me consistently during my week in Iceland was how clean everything is. Air, water, and earth all seemed unsullied by the small population. My usually runny nose calmed down, presumably due the lack of air- and water-borne irritants.  I was also impressed by the laissez-faire attitude. Never did I hear lifeguards yelling at anyone, for example. Even the locker-room matrons held off on their shower critiques, despite the many warnings about hygiene. The ethos seems to be to provide water wings and, later, swim lessons, and assume that people are equipped to fend for themselves or bear the consequences. I occasionally felt tentative about dipping into an empty pool or trying a play feature, but it was all good–no harm, no foul. It’s a lot easier to have that attitude with only 300,000 people, most of whom are distantly related and know each other by first names.

I can’t recommend Iceland highly enough as a pool-tourist destination, nor can I wait to return.

One response to “#31: Seltjarnarneslaug

  1. david barra says:

    You’re going to run out of pools! Its only June!

    Very jealous, though the river has been delightful (see you in a short while)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: