Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Budapest, Hungary: Recovering from the Tour of the House of Terror

I needed something to recover from the emotionally-draining tour of the House of Terror. So I went for a soak at the Széchenyi thermal bath (Széchenyi fürdő).

This is the most popular and prominent of the bath houses in Budapest. It's where the locals recommend you go when in Budapest, more than any other site. And, notwithstanding that frequent recommendation, this also is where the locals go to soak. The Gellert in Buda, which is just as large, is more tourist-oriented, as it is connected to a hotel. This is the outdoor pool area:

This is the signature shot of Széchenyi baths: people in the pool playing chess, enjoying a soak.

The exteriors of the outdoor pool look great:

Me, I'm used to the Las Vegas heat. So the upper 60s/low 70s temperatures were a little chilly for me to hang outside. I much preferred the indoor thermal pools, of which there were more than a dozen, each a different temperature.

Earlier in the week I visited the Rudas Baths, which did not allow photography inside. The Rudas looked like perfect traditional Turkish bath, in the octagon shape, under a dome, with shafts of light shining through. If I had treated myself to a massage there, I would've felt like a sultan back in the Ottoman Era. The Széchenyi had the bigger, and probably would be great to visit on a warmer day when the outdoor pool would've been more usable, but I preferred the Ottoman atmosphere of the much-smaller Rudas.

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