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Bathing our Blisters in Budapest

sunny 37 °C
View Euro trip 2013 on travellinglise's travel map.

“Rest and peace should not be left until you're deceased. They are two vital life ingredients everybody needs and seeks.” - Rasheed Ogunlaru

Foodie moment

Over the course of our trip, we have been using TripAdvisor to find the best restaurants that have been recommended by people who have actually been there. To say that there are a lot to choose from in Budapest would be an understatement. We had our eye on Hungarikum Bisztro which was in the top 5, yet still in the 'cheap' category, but it was on the other side of town. However today we were in the neighbourhood so we decided to give it a go. Lucky for us, even though it was fully booked out with reservations, we were allowed a table because we got there early, before any of the reservations turned up. The restaurant was really nice and friendly, it had a man playing some kind of string / xylophone instrument. We ordered the Grandma's Recipe Onion Gnocchi and the Stuffed Pork Lion with Dumplings. We were also treated some some very tasty home made cheese bread. The food was fantastic and the staff really lovely.


Cultural moment

Without trying to spoil our wow moment before we get to it, today while at the thermal pools we noticed an interesting thing. There are quiet a few saunas and steam rooms around in the pool complex that we visited today. While trying each one out, we began to notice a strange occurrence where the locals will stand in the absolute hottest part of the saunas, right next to the heaters, standing up on chairs or anything to get the hottest experience possible. In most of the rooms, standing next to the heaters was just bearable, but in the 100 degree celsius room, it was insanity! Just sitting in that room was unbearable, but standing in front of the heater was crazy, I'm surprised they didn't get 3rd degree burns!


Wow moment

So today Lisa thought it would be a good idea to go to one of the local thermal bath complexes for some R&R, especially considering we had been on the road for about 7 weeks straight we could use some medicinal hydro therapy for our tired muscles. After some convincing, I agreed to go, and I am so glad I did. The Szechenyi Baths and Pools complex is more of a swimming pool adventure park than a bath centre, the main feature being 2 huge outdoor pools that are naturally heated, one being 38 degrees celcius. It was a little strange jumping into a 38 degree pool on a 37 degree day, but you get used to it quickly. There were numerous waterspouts that you could stand under and use as a back/head massager. The other pool was a little cooler, and had an awesome feature in the middle which was kind of a human powered whirlpool where everybody spins around with the current. We had a great time in the pools and relaxed with a couple of drinks afterwards by the edge of the water.


Inside is a more traditional thermal bath complex with many pools and spas each at different temperatures and with different types of medicinal water. Lisa's favourite pool was the 38 degree spa which was filled with medicinal mineral water which was a green colour, and had healing properties for sore muscle and joints. There were also saunas, steam rooms and aroma therapy rooms, all of which we tried, the craziest being the 100 degree Celcius sauna mentioned above. My favourite was the steam room, and I even joined some of the crazies, standing on my chair for a bit! We spent the majority of the day there and were well and truly water logged, but totally relaxed and rejuvenated when we finished.


What we learnt today

A pretty simple lesson learnt today, and that is that hot water feels awesome on sore muscles after backpacking. It was a really awesome way to finish off the major backpacking leg of our European holiday. If anybody is ever in Budapest, I highly recommend the Szechenyi Baths and Pools.


Another fact, which is quite amusing, is that to reduce costs in heating the zoo started pumping the natural water into their hippo enclosure. This worked well, perhaps too well, as the water was very high in salt and minerals which led to the hippos increasing their pregnancy rates! Now, Hungary are one of the main breeders of hippos in the world!


Posted by travellinglise 11:27 Archived in Hungary Tagged budpest szechenyi_baths

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