europe quick trips
Hoehenfreibad in Stuttgart is a relaxing, refreshing spot to spend a hot day
By JOHN VANDIVER | Stars and Stripes | Published: August 9, 2018
The dog days have hit hard in Germany, where there are few escapes from a record-setting summer swelter.
And in the land of brats and beer aplenty, the misery is only accentuated by the Germans’ mystifying aversion to central air conditioning. It is virtually nonexistent in their homes and blows a pathetic pant in the malls.
At times like these, the only thing to do is find a pool to dip into — ideally one that is surrounded by trees that offer a hint of shade. And if the snack bar is well-stocked with cold ones, a reprieve can be obtained.
In Stuttgart, Hoehenfreibad Killesberg meets all of the requirements. The pool is situated next to Killesberg Park and has lots of green space where you can sprawl out. On hot days, get there early and you can stake a spot with shade.
This is the kind of pool that conjures memories of American neighborhood swimming spots from back in the day. Basically, the opposite of the trendy water parks now popular in Germany, with sky-high slides, indoor and outdoor sections and a noise factor that is off the charts.
Instead, Hoehenfreibad is a place to chill. It has two pools. One of them is 50 meters, with five lanes, a whirlpool and a 16-foot-high diving board. It’s designed for sport, but those who do laps move at a leisurely pace. This pool is populated by bronzed 20-somethings. The fit outnumber the flabby.
On the other side of the grounds is a second, family-friendly pool where things get a little paunchier. The water is shallow — roughly 2 feet to 4 feet deep, which means most youngsters can stand. It seems like quite a few German kids learn to swim a bit later than their American counterparts. I’ve noticed many 4- and 5-year-olds in the kid pool with inflatable tubes on their arms or swimming belts to keep them afloat.
It can get a bit hectic in the shallow water. Luckily, there are escapes. With so much green space around, you can spread out a blanket for a picnic and make a full day of it.
In addition, there are volleyball nets, pingpong tables and a small playground where kids can stay busy.
So when the curses grow louder as the dog days drag on, hit Hoehenfreibad where, as pretty much everywhere in Germany, beer is served.
At the pool, my rancor over German air-conditioning ineptness faded as a cold wheat beer settled in my stomach and I contemplated a dip.
DIRECTIONS: Beim Hoehenfreibad 37, 70192 Stuttgart, Germany
TIMES: 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays -Sundays
COSTS: 4.50 euros ($5.20) for adults, 2.70 euros for children under 18
FOOD: There is a snack bar on site with food options, ice cream and drinks.
INFORMATION: (+49)(0) 711 216-3015