Friday, 10 June 2016

The Hunt for a Bath in Budapest

I did not have much time in Budapest, somehow my plans to spend more time in eastern Europe f*ck up and I found myself rushing just so I could get to Turkey in time to catch a flight out to Nepal. Still it was a journey I had to make and if I had to pass by though land anyway why not make a stop right and enjoy the highlights and skip along the way.

Budapest was beautiful and exotic for a European country yet due to all the hype and the songs and the movies I expected it to be more magical in a sense like Dragon magical. First off the train in the blazing hot summer and I could tell it was a party town.
Money was tricky in Hungary. With all the tourism flocking into Budapest the money changer knew how to make full profit. Train station rates were exorbitant and by just walking out the station immediately a better rates appear yet still nowhere near a fair exchange. Ironically the best exchange rate I manage to change in Budapest was inside the casino in downtown. Yep I found a casino in Budapest …. It was in the tourist map so I was drawn to it eventually and enjoyed gambling with Hungarian Forint till I lost what little money I exchanged …. I still needed money for food and for fun I checked the exchange rate in the casino and viola … it was the highest best rates in the whole of Budapest …. Talk about traps …..

Walking Tour
Off the sleeper train, chuck my bags into the hostel in the early morning of 8 am and off to join the walking tour. I had no time to laze around now in Hungary and was determine to do as much as I can. It was a good tour, nearly 3 hours where the guide introduce Budapest and Hungary in a nutshell. End of the tour and somehow there was 6 of us chatting together and decided to go for lunch. Two girls from Brazil, Bonus from USA but of Nepalese decent, Jeff the Kiwi and Gus from Hong Kong.
Beautiful Budapest

The start of the Bath Hunt
Wats next after Lunch ??? The girls parted ways and the boys decided it was too hot do anything but try out the famous Budapest Baths. 4pm they said to meet in the front steps of the cathedral …. That was two hours later and we went our separate ways. I back to the hostel and also the train station to get my next day train ticket to Belgrade. I was committed now regardless of visa requirements and I was determine to make that route to Istanbul work out.

4pm and I was the first one there waiting at the steps. Soon Jeff arrive and a few minutes later so did Gus. Bonus was nowhere to be seen and he was the only one with all our contacts. We waited nearly half an hour and Bonus was still AFK and that’s when we saw the hail storm of sand coming towards us from afar. We all ran to seek shelter at Starbucks and the sandstorm hit for 10 minutes followed by the heavy downpour.
Well I think Bonus is not coming I said …. We got stood up. Nothing else to do but to drink coffee and tea at starbucks and wait out the rain/hail storm. Soon it was 5pm and it became a drizzle. …. Bath ??? lets change bath to a nearer one, one that is more traditional I said …. We agreed and walk to the nearest information centre thinking that they could help us call a cab in the rain instead.

The information centre once they realized we were heading to the bath house push and force sell us the tickets …. Only after selling us the tickets they said the taxi company are not picking up … they are quite busy. I guess we forgot when it rains, everyone takes a cab. By miracle the rain stopped at 530pm and we decided to just flag one down ourselves … running around the main streets of Pest we got none and finally decided to just take the subway instead …. Bought the tickets and the subway breaks down ….
This Bath hunt in Budapest was now no longer a thing of passing time, it had become a mission, a pilgrimage, an itch that one just had to scratch and will not be satisfied with a mere rub. A scratch till a red numbing bleeding bliss.

Someone, some local said take the tram …. And we ran to catch the tram she pointed … a flash of map and someone nodded his head and we all squeezed in crammed in the Tram like sardines.
You sure this is the right tram number?

Yep ……. Maybe …..
You sure it’s the right direction and not the other way?

Oh! …. Uh …. W
We made it to the bath house at 630 with only an hour and half to closing ….. We are going in we told the ticket counter, regardless of how little time there was left. A quick change and the first feet dip into the largest pool and whistle blew from the lifeguard …. Head caps are required …. $%^& ….. now we need to buy head caps … f*ck that and we went to the next nearest pool which was a warm pool.
Bath in Budapest

Not satisfied I suggested exploring the inner nooks and corners and we that was when we found the actual hot spring pool and even a steam room hidden deep inside the old bath house pass the changing room, pass the massage room and shower ….

Sneeky little bastards these guys were but we got out money worth ….. Soaking and just absorbing the beauty of a Hungarian Bath house …. While looking at eye candy everywhere … 

 

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