Also on Wednesday, Betty and I headed by subway to the Szechenyi Baths in City Park behind Heroes’ Square.
The baths are a big thing in Budapest. Of the three major locations, Szechenyi, Gellert and Rudas, our Rick Steves guide book recommended the Szechenyi baths as the nicest and most tourist friendly. All you need are a bathing suit, flip flops and a towel and you are good to go. Although all three are available there for purchase or rental, we packed our suits because the book said that Speedos are usually all that is available for men and, well, no one wants that. I was a bit nervous about what it would be like but quickly acclimated. Buying a ticket and renting lockers had us baffled for a bit until a couple of kind folks explained the procedure to the clueless tourists in excellent, if heavily accented, English. There was a lot of that this week.
And no, there will be no pictures of us.
We walked out of the locker rooms and found this.
They had about eight more similar indoor pools with signs describing water temperatures of 30°C, 34°C and, my favorite, 38°C. There were several large sauna rooms of various temperature, all fiercely hot, and at least one large steam room. All this indoors. Betty headed outdoors to use the heated lap pool. I tried the outdoor pools but standing wet in the 65°F air drove me quickly back inside where I happily stewed for about an hour in the 38°C (I’ll save you the math = 100.4°F) pool shown above. While Betty lapped and steamed, I wrinkled and people watched.
It was awkward to take pictures indoors but the outside pools were a different story.
General view of one half of the pool area. Lap pool at right. Various pools at left with jets and circular currents. All heated.
The lap pool.
Hardy sun bathers at poolside.
Those circular pools have jets and currents that you can float around in. Note this is the typical Wednesday afternoon crowd, I guess.
Lappers. As you can see, the buildings are really beautiful, dating from the 1896 Hungarian Millennium.
The price was cheap, the showers and locker rooms immaculate and the people were a mix of locals and tourists of all shapes and sizes. As for water quality, it was very acceptable, considering the number of people crowded into each pool, especially inside. Since I unknowingly had a band-aid boiled off of my feet while I was stewing, who knows what else lies beneath the surface. I would take care not to swallow any.
I would also go back in a flash. That water was soooo soothing.