Monday, October 10, 2011

Rudas Baths

After all that walking around, it was time for a soak and a massage at the Rudas. Curiously, the large statue of St. Gellert on the Buda Hills overlooking the Danube is right near the Rudas and not the Gellert which actually bears his name.

St. Gellert was brought to Hungary from Venice. He was martyred by the then-heathen locals in 1046. By being placed in a barrel with spikes in it and rolled down the hill that now bears his name. Not even Texas will go that far in its executions. (Not enough hills.)

And just on the other side of the bridge is the most "Turkish" of the public thermal baths in Budapest: the Rudas. It has the domed roof and the octagonal main pool with only little shafts of light coming into the bathing area through holes in the dome.

You come in through the lobby and then it's "no pictures allowed" territory. You pay for everything before entering, including the massage, and you are given a "wristwatch" looking device that records what you've paid for, and what changing cabin has been assigned to you. The wristwatch is even the key that unlocks the lock on the changing cabin. Very high tech for what is otherwise such a 16th Century environment. I had one of those Hungarian soap-and-water massages, where you lie on a table and the masseur soaps you down limb by limb. It's not deep tissue, although the masseur did use a lot of knuckle on my quads, hams, back, and (productively painful) my feet. But it's a little more vigorous than a Swedish type massage. It's all so Hungarian.

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