February 1, 2014

Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest

A few weeks ago when my friend Kirsten and I were planning her visit, we made a spur of the moment decision to book a trip to Budapest, Hungary. 

Kirsten and I, in flight!

The time flew by and next thing we knew we were onboard the Arlanda Express, headed for the airport.  A quick 2 hour flight later we had arrived, then one quick taxi ride and we were all checked into our room and ready to start our Budapest adventure.

The view our of our hotel room window! A castle, and the Danube river.  

When reading about visiting Budapest there were only a few things that really stood out to us to experience.  One of these things was a thermal bath.  The most famous one is called The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs, their temperatures are 74 °C (165 °F) and 77 °C (171 °F), respectively (Wikipedia).  The water baths that we went into ranged from 38 °C to 40 °C, which is really not very hot.  They also had some cold water baths, but we were not interested in freezing anymore than we already were running from one pool to the other outside.  

Getting there was easy enough, we used the local metro... which was old.  Once you walk in the doors, there are just swarms of staff in white uniforms dying to answer in confusing ways what you could read in the flyers that are on the shelves behind them.  After being told at least five times that the entrance we were using closed at seven (it was four) we entered the odd locker/changing room.  Men, women, and children drying their hair, changing rooms with doors on each side, tall metal lockers that looked very un-secure.  You had to rent towels from a little booth inside the changing area, eww gross.. but our options were limited.  Our hotel offered us bath-sized towels that we would have had to carry with us all day, or hand towels that would have been soaking in one second, we chose to rent.  

                                                                  The very, very old metro.

Once in the changing rooms we tried to shut both of the doors on each side.  We finally realized that to lock them, you shut them both and push part of the bench inside down to block the doors which in turn locked them.  We locked our purses and belongings in the rinky dink lockers provided and just HOPED that when we returned they would still be there.  

                                                  This is the way the changing room door locked.

The baths were full of people of all ages.  We really didn't know what ones to try first so we just tried all of them, well pretty much.  We got outside pretty quickly and it was so foggy it was very hard to see much from in the bath.  We still managed to see a plethora of PDA, it was everywhere.  Once we made it down to the far end we found this circular shaped pool water with a current which made it fun to swim quickly.  We got into a few collisions and accidentally got most of our hair completely wet.  

In total I think we were in the pools only an hour and a half, but we were ready to go.  Thankfully our lockers had remained untouched and we were able to leave with all of our belongings.  We even ended up using the funny looking hairdryers in an unsuccessful attempt to not be walking around the city with wet hair.  We were both so happy we went and experienced a traditional thermal bath.  As for it's medicinal qualities, I did not notice a difference, just that my skin was extremely dry and my fingers turned to raisins.   

We were unable to bring our cameras into the bath area in fear of getting them wet, so I do not have many pictures of the pool areas.  There are many available online if you are interested, the building is quite beautiful.  

Here is a link to the bath we went to, Széchenyi Bath.

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! I really hope that my fiance plays over in Europe next year so that I can travel!