Many tourists in Iceland try to avoid bathing before going to swimming pools, reports Fréttablaðið. The staff at the swimming pools say that the problem is a fear of being watched.
“This is something that everyone knows, that tourists try to avoid taking a shower,” says Karen Erlingsdóttir, the manager of the swimming pool in Egilsstaðir.
Brá Guðmundsdóttir from Laugardalslaug, Elín H. Gísladóttir from Sundlaug Akureyri, and Aðalheiður Ósk Guðmundsdóttir, at Vök Baths, agree with Karen.
They all say that there are no special penalties for not taking a shower without a swimsuit before going to the pool.
“This is a problem and has always been a problem,” says Aðalheiður. “We’ve done what we can to avoid this, for example, by being in the changing rooms during the busiest times,” she adds.
Visitors to Vök Baths who book in advance receive a video sent by email 24 hours before arriving at the pool, where the local rules are reviewed, including the fact that everyone must take a shower.
At Egilsstaður swimming pool and in Akureyri, all foreign visitors are asked at the reception if they have gone swimming before and are informed of the rules. It is also done in the Laugardalslaug, but there, in addition, guests who have not gone swimming before receive a printed brochure where the rules are reviewed in English.
“Someone always slips through and there is always someone who doesn’t want to follow the rules, but that also applies to Icelanders,” says Brá.
Elín, Karen and Brá agree that there is nothing to fear, even if one and all go to the pool without bathing. The pool’s chlorine level increases in line with its dirtiness.
“We also use this to get people to shower, saying that the more people who don’t, the more chlorine there will be in the water,” says Karen.
In Vök Baths, things are different because there is no chlorine in the water but a continuous flow.
“We don’t deny people access to the water if they don’t take a shower, but the vast majority obey when the rules are pointed out to them. Icelanders are also very good at letting us know if someone doesn’t follow them,” says Aðalheiður.
“Most people take a shower, but the question is always whether people wash properly or take off their swimsuits, but we also have a changing room where people can take off their swimsuits privately and we just have to trust that people take off,” says Elín
“It varies depending on the nationality, but most people have a fear of being seen naked in common that’s why they avoid showering naked,” adds Elín.
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