Saturday, July 14, 2012

Splish Splash Taking A Bath - Szechenyi Baths - Budapest

June 8th - Friday

We woke up way too early on this day.  I would say we woke up at the crack of dawn, but that would mean 4:30 AM and that wasn't going to happen.  Especially once we found out there were wooden shutters to cover the windows and block out that early morning super bright sun!  We did get out of the hotel by 7 AM, which is a minor miracle all in itself!  But we had plans you see.  Plans to go to Szechenyi Baths, the House of Terrors, the Dohány Street Synagogue, AND Memento Park.

Since that is a lot of ground to cover, I am going to have to break this day up into a few post again.  You, dear reader, will just have to deal with it.  (Love you!)

First things first.  Coffee! Nothing was open for coffee at 7 AM.  Can you believe that!  Not even Burger King!  We did notice that many shops and things didn't open until 10 AM.  We, being from America where things are open when we think we need them to be, were SHOCKED!  Luckily, when we got to the metro station they were selling coffee in there.  Good coffee!

Before getting to the metro station we saw a few things of interest.

So familiar yet so foreign!

McDonalds advertisment in Hungarian Budapest

These little hammers were on the trams.  My thinking is, if the tram falls over or is in a wreck, that little hammer would be the last thing I would think of!  Plus, I was surprised it was there and hadn't been messed with or taken.  It was cute and I would have taken it for a souvenir, had I been that type of person or that stupid. 

Hammer to break glass on tram Budapest

We have now made it to the metro where there is COFFEE!  We could have gotten some coffee at the hotel but we thought for sure there would be something open for us.  At the hotel they had a sign that said, "Feel free to ask us to make a cup of American coffee for you!"  We are apparently SO American that we had no idea there was any other way to make coffee that would justify calling something American coffee.  So I asked.

The person at the front desk told me that American coffee was the kind made in a drip style machine.  So then I had to ask what type of coffee Hungarians drank.  My red, white, and blue Old Glory was shining bright now!  She very politely told me that Hungarians drink either instant or they start with an espresso made with a real espresso machine and then add milk and such to that.  My eyes were opened!

Now back to the metro, we ordered our coffee (espresso) with sugar and milk.  The Italians do not add milk to their espresso, if they do that is then called a cafe latte or a cappuccino or depending on how much milk, foam, bubbles, the day of the week, the side of the street they are on some other name.  It is mind boggling!  That and all the different pasta shapes...but I digress.

Coffee good. The metro we get on.

It was one of the older trains.  Instead of having plastic hand holds they had leather! That was a first for us!

Leather hand straps on metro Budapest

For some reason this particular line of the underground metro reminded me of a video game.  Sorry the video is so strange.  I didn't want anyone to think I was filming them!

Now that all the excitement of getting to Szechenyi Baths is over, I am sorry all things must come to an end!  You know that.  Besides I have to tell you about the baths!!  

We enter and here is what the lovely foyer where you decide what you will be doing at the baths looks like.

Entrance Szechenyi Bath Budapest

Will you just swim? A massage, perhaps? What kind? Do you want a cabin or just a locker? What time of day are you here?  All these things matter and the list is long!  

We were just going to swim.  Swimming (which I am including just soaking in that definition) includes all the inside and outside baths (meaning water in a cement pond).  We had gotten a cabin so we could keep our things together and have a place to change that was private.

Here is the hallway of the cabins.  Down each of those little hallways was about 6 cabins that were the size of a broom closet.  Enough room for one person, barely.

Cabin Hall at Szechenyi Bath Budapest

The cool thing about these is the fact that you unlock your cabin door through an electronic device you wear on your wrist that looks like a watch.

Electronic wrist band at Szechenyi Bath Budapest

Before these you had keep up with a key and if you forgot/lost it or couldn't remember your cabin number there was a person standing there to help you.  You had to wait for them and they usually were not too thrilled you disturbed them with your idiot ways.  Now, if you forget your cabin number you just place your electronic band up to a panel on the wall and it tells you.

Electronic panel at Szechenyi Bath Budapest

Everything you have ever heard about speedo clad European men is true!!  Frankie had to advert his eyes!

Frankie has to advert eyes at Szechenyi Bath Budapest

Really Frankie was just standing up and had that look on his face, but I think my caption is WAY funnier.

We are now ready to go outside and enjoy some natural spring thermal waters!  Look at how pretty the outside is!  Sadly, I never did take any pictures of all the inside baths.  There were fifteen different indoor pools at varying temperatures and filled with different minerals.  It was overwhelming but fantastic!

Szechenyi Outside Pools Budapest

Just in this outside area there are many options.  There is the soaking pool, the swimming pool (laps, like actual workout swimming), and the fun pool.  In the soaking pool you can play chess, but only if you bully your way into the old man club.

Men playing chess Szechenyi Bath Budapest

In the fun pool there is a whirlpool that circles around a center sitting pool.  That water goes pretty fast, especially if you are up against the outer wall!  It also has places in the pool where jets push the water up causing bubbles that you can stand in.  Tingly!

Whirlpool Szechenyi Bath Budapest

While there you can enjoy refreshments from the cafe or you can have fresh squeezed orange juice from the vending machine.  When I say fresh squeezed, I mean it!  The machine takes two whole oranges and squeezes them, producing a small cup of juice just for you!  I was fascinated by it!

Freshed squeezed orange juice Szechenyi Bath Budapest

There are other things to do including, of course, the old stand by of being outside and sunning.  It applied to both men and women, old and young, big and little.

Male sun bathers Szechenyi Bath Budapest

Sun worship Szechenyi Bath Budapest

I think she was actually worshiping the sun...not sure though.  I was really worried her top was going to fall off.  Tan lines versus exposure, priorities, priorities!

Thoroughly soaked and ready to go, we got back on the metro and rode away to our next stop.  Before I stop this post I would like to share the name of my favorite metro stop.  I only like the stop because of the name.

Vorosmarty utca Metro sign Budapest

I will try to give you a hint on how to pronounce it.... vo-rosh-marty oot-sa.  Doesn't that just sound fun! Vörösmarty is the name of a Hungarian poet and dramatist and the word utca means road.

Next post will be a continuation of June 8th - Friday, where we see the House of Terror and the Dohány Street Synagogue. If the post isn't too long by the time I get through those two, I might be able to even finish all of Friday by adding in Puskin Kávéház and Memento Park!  How exciting!