*WARNING! Swear words in this post!*
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. My day started off so well. I went to the Szechenyi Thermal Spa. If there is one thing you must do in Budapest, this just might be it. This region has hot springs coming out the yin yang, and this one is considered to be Europe’s largest open air bath. I would have preferred to be here on a cooler day, but it was the only day I had left so I just had to go for it. It’s funny. I remember when Meredith and I went to Jamaica a couple of years ago, I would have thought being in a hot tub would be unpleasant in 100 degree heat, but it was actually quite nice! That’s what I was thinking as I was walking from the Metro to the spa while sweating my face off! It is so beautiful inside, and I’m happy to report, no nudies! Swimwear is a must here, there is no naked option, and frankly I was pretty darn happy about that! They had 4 indoor tubs ranging from a cold dunker to a 38 degree hot tub. Outside there was a hot pool, a cold pool for swimming and a cooler hot tub than the first one, all containing water from the thermal springs. I love a bath. I’ve been really missing my bath tub so I just moved from pool to pool to pool for oh, about three hours! I was a wrinkled prune afterwards!
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The hot springs were discovered in 1879 and the Baroque building was built at the beginning of the 20th century.
The outdoor HOTTER hot tub.
Thank god there’s no smoking in the pools! Seems to be fair game everywhere else here!
The inner ring there has a river flow current in it, and you get whipped around and around and around in a circle. I actually had trouble getting out of it once I got in, but it was fun!
You have to swear a bathing cap in the swimming pool, so these guys were cracking me up with their shower caps!
Apparently the on-going water chess games are a fixture here.
Szabadsag Square. It’s surrounded by some beautiful buildings and is in the slightly swankier end of town.
The American Embassy in right around here, which is maybe why there’s a statue of Ronald Reagan?
A monument in the middle of the square. There wasn’t really an explanation in English so I’ll just have to wonder who it’s for!
This is Budapest’s most famous cafe, Gerbeaud. I wanted to have a coffee and pastry here yesterday when I was in Vorosmatry Square but it was too busy, so I decided to try again today and they had a nice table outside, for one! Well, it was really for two, but what are they going to do, turn me away??? This place has been in business since 1870. If it’s good enough for Madonna and Brad Pitt, then it’s good enough for me, thank you very much!
I had the Valhrona chocolate cake with bourbon vanilla ice cream. It was incredible yumminess!
Now for the bad part of my day… my overnight train didn’t leave until 7:10, so I went to take the metro to the train station. I had bought a 72 hour transit pas, so I showed the metro guys and they stopped me. It had expired 10 minutes ago. Darn. I just changed all of my Hungarian money for Romanian. I went to the ticket office and asked if they took Euro (since most everywhere does) but no was the answer. So I had to use my Visa to buys a 1 euro transit ticket. This was all annoying enough, but I needed a ticket so I did what I had to do! So I go back to the same transit guys show my ticket and get on the metro. I get off and there are yet MORE transit Nazi’s (as I’m now calling them) checking tickets and THEY stop me. WTF