So I knew there'd be some differences in training in another country, but I was looking forward to pretending I was an elite athlete, finalising my preparation for an international Ironman race at altitude.
Apart from the obvious difference of riding on the right hand side of the road, the pool at Alpe d'Huez was my first such experience.
I paid my entry fee to the attendant, who asked me to remove my shoes before proceeding to the change room, and instructed me to put my belongings in a locker. Off with the crocs, into the locker room, where there were no toilets or showers, just rows of lockers and just a handful of cubicles for privacy for the few who desire it (this was Europe after all).
I changed into my togs, kept aside just my essentials (goggles, cap and water bottle) and placed everything else in a locker. I didn't have any change to pay for the locker though, as I'd given all my valuables to KKB for minding. I obediently left my belongings in an unsecured locker, as I was instructed to, and made my way out of the other end of the change room.
Around a rabbit warren of hallways, finally past the toilets (separate for men and women) and past a unisex shower room. That was going to be interesting later on...
Showers were obligitare (compulsory) so I braced for what I thought would be water straight from the glacier above (all of the water in the Alpes is freezing) and was pleasantly surprised with lovely warm water.
From here, out onto the pool deck, where to my surprise, everyone had their bags, towels, packed lunches, you name it. Maybe I didn't need to take the locker thing quite so literally!
The cool alpine air made me dread what the water would be like, but unnecessarily, it was heated to a lovely temperature. I stroked my way through my set in the unroped lanes, which made for a bit of a haphazard session, but a session completed nevertheless. I wasn't the lone trainer so I didn't feel so bad amongst the frolicking holiday makers.
I braced myself for the cool air before jumping out and reentering the pavilion through the shower area. I glanced around the showers to see that others were using soap and shampoo, and spotted some cubicles. Back past the toilets to the locker room; grab the body wash; return to the shower area to wash off. Back again, around the rabbit warren to the locker room to get changed, outside to the reception area, crocs back on.
Swim over. Whew.