(ffm) In a few days, on Saturday, March 30, the Hausen outdoor pool opens the outdoor pool season in Frankfurt. Starting at 6.30 am, guests will then be allowed to dive into the heated pool. With the so-called "Anbaden" an annual tradition is continued, which awakens the bath in Hausen from the winter sleep. But before that, operations manager Anette Hamel makes sure that everything is ready to go. When she returns from vacation at the end of January, she knows that she and her team have between four and six weeks before the baths have to be ready for operation. A total of 24,055 square meters of green and sunbathing areas as well as a combination pool and a wading pool with a water volume of 2300 cubic meters.
First of all, the leaves of the 152 trees have to be removed from the site, then the pools have to be cleaned and filled. It could be a good three days before the combined swimmer/non-swimmer pool and wading pool are full. But that's not all, as Hamel and her team of twelve check all the existing craft and gardening equipment to make sure it's in working order, keep things tidy and clean the pool out neatly.
Gardener, chaplain, water panhandler
On a normal day, the bath's operations manager starts work at 5 a.m. and has just under an hour before the first guests arrive. Then she has to do some last cleaning work, check the technical equipment, check the chlorine level or even dispose of the remains of uninvited visitors who climb over the fence every now and then to take a nightly bath. Afterwards the cash desk is prepared and then it can finally start. At the Hausen open-air pool, that means: "You come in and first unload your problems that you brought with you from outside," says Hamel. Built in 1961, she said, the pool is a place where mostly friends get together and everyone looks out for each other.
Hamel began her training as a pool attendant 41 years ago, then worked at Stadtbad Mitte from 1981 to 1993 and Textorbad from 1993 to 2003. Since 2003 she has been the manager of the Hausen outdoor pool. And by manager, Anette Hamel means, with a wink, "gardener, pastor, water panhandler" all rolled into one. What she appreciates most about the open-air pool in Hausen is the family atmosphere and the geography of the site. The Nidda divides the pool into two areas, which meet again via a bridge. On one side there are the swimming pools and the gastronomic area including a kiosk, and on the other there are large green areas, football goals and a table tennis table. Everywhere you hear, sometimes see, animals that have made the bath their habitat. These include a pair of cockatiels with three children, various squirrels and, time and again, Egyptian geese. The latter, however, prompted the bath management to call an exterminator, as the geese were significantly worsening the hygienic conditions.
Royal breakfast among bathing friends
Since she enjoys the different areas of her job so much, Anette Hamel is always involved in setting up new events for the bathing guests. One of these is the custom of "Anbadens", which usually takes place on Good Friday to mark the opening of a new season. The friends and guests of the baths get together and go into the warm pool in the mostly fresh outside temperatures. Afterwards there is goulash soup, coffee and cake for the up to 30 hardy Anbader.
But the most unusual event so far occurred with a royal breakfast, inspired by the Frankfurt visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 2015. In royal robes and at a large table, the bathing friends set up a true breakfast feast in the best style of the British high nobility. Afterwards, they even sent photos to the Queen and received the response that they were "a crazy bunch" and that the Queen was pleased to see the pictures.
Visitors to the Hausen outdoor pool can definitely look forward to relaxing in a friendly and green atmosphere. If you are interested, you can rent lockers for the new season starting March 29, because Hausen is a kind of "garden with a pool" for its guests affirms Anette Hamel and looks contentedly over the freshly mowed lawn. Incidentally, the reason for the early start of the season is the possibility to heat the pools of the bath and thus to ensure comfortable water temperatures of 26 degrees already towards the end of March.
The outdoor pool Hausen opens daily from March 30 at 6.30 am and closes around 8 pm. In good weather, Hamel may extend the closing time to 10 p.m. The outdoor pool can be reached by both bus line 34 and the U7 subway line by going to the "Fischstein" station and then walking for about another minute. For more info, visit http://www.frankfurter-baeder.de/freibad-hausen/
Text: Konrad Claus