Bathed in Budapest

Posted by jswt | Posted in General, Hungary - Budapest | Posted on 12-12-2010


Departed Budapest by train with great sadness, but a knowing that the city is so fantastic I will be returning one day.

We spent the week at an amazing classic 5star hotel right in the heart of the city. The weather was a little cold with a few days of snow, which only made things more beautiful.

You can see that it was once an immensely wealthy city (from when it was part of the Austrian empire) and although it’s not as rich today, they’ve still preserved their history and take pride in the ancient bits.

The city itself is split down the middle – the hilly Buda to the west and the flat Pest on the other side of the river Danube to the east.

I’ve always been a huge fan of hot springs, and have been waiting for many years to visit the city and experience their legendary thermals, and managed to check one out almost every day. There’s beautiful outdoor complexes and ancient turkish bath houses loaded with traditions. Our favourite was the Rudas baths which are a turkish bath from the 1500s that separate the mens and ladies days. It’s an amazing experience to be in a steamy dark chamber under shafts of light from up in the dome, that’s been a community meeting place for centuries – voices murmuring in the steam, having a sit in the sauna or steam rooms, or in the 4 pools of varying temperatures. Everyone wears a loincloth which is just a towel that covers your junk and you tie around the back leaving your ass hanging out – but even with that, it’s not a gay thing, it’s a traditional thing. (If you are looking for that, head to Kiraly – it’s similar, in a more run down state, but perfect for those who like handjobs from random old men).

More common but still breathtaking is the Széchenyi baths – this complex of 16 indoor and outdoor pools, steambaths and saunas that’s old and beautiful. We went on the snowiest day, and there’s nothing better than soaking outdoor in a giant hot pool that’s steaming so much you can’t see anything around you, and then a gust of wind will come by and clear it out and you see the snow swirling everywhere briefly before the world fades away into the mist.

For a good rundown the majority of the baths around town, check out this great link:

Other than the baths, the city has lots to offer – great bars, cafes and restaurants that are all *cheap*. It’s kind of like Prague, but less disney-touristy and more sincere. And again, it’s cheap… wonderfully cheap especially in comparison to Switzerland the week before.

Monday was an early birthday hangout since Chris was working late on the Tuesday… A day soaking wandering the city, soaking in the Rudas baths, and then back to the hotel for a nap before heading out for a recommended italian dinner. C ended up joining us, and sweetly grabbed the tab and made the kickass italian dinner a gift to me (tho her fab company alone would have been more than kind).

Tuesday I went and bought myself a new camera after sitting on my old one’s screen the day before. Good timing, as it made for a great birthday present I’ll use every day. Spent the afternoon having a massage and a grand soak before going back to the hotel for some late night drinks and lounging in the lobby with G, M and C. Never expected to be having my 35th bday in Budapest, but it’s a pleasantly unexpected treat, amongst some quality folk. 🙂

Wednesday I went for a walk with V up to the big city park and wandered around museums before I had to head back to the hotel to gear up for DJing a party that night. It was a lot of fun – the whole crew was there, and there were some crazy circus acts (yay midgets!) and the place it was held was a bar owned by a famous Hungarian boxer who’s got an entire F1 car in the place.

Thursday I slept in after a late night at the party, and then spent the afternoon soaking with a smile. Came back to the hotel, got some work caught up and had a bit of an early night.

Friday Chris had the day off so we had booked a couple of massages at the hotel spa to start the day (they were *excellent*). Followed that up by a nap, and then a wander up and around the castle area in Buda. Back at the hotel we joined Z, who had her parents in town from the UK for her birthday. C joined us as well, and we all enjoyed a special event put on by the hotel – it was a 4 course meal, paired with wines, with classical music pieces played between each course. It was a fantastic and reasonable meal, with delightful company.

Chris worked the next morning, so I wrangled up some troops and headed out to a club where we caught Steve Aioki, Pendulum and Benni Benassi blow the doors off the place before heading back to the hotel around 4:30.

Saturday, it was snowstorming, so I went with M & C over to the outdoor baths for a good afternoon of soaking under the snowflakes. Evening of chilling out at the hotel catching up on work, packing, and growing increasingly glum about the thought of leaving the city.

No really worried though – this is one of those places that I’m already looking forward to coming back to, and will take any opportunity to make it happen…

Currently on the train from Budapest to Nuremburg, Germany…
Week 5 down.
Spirits are tranquil, pleasant and grounded.

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