Some weekends are more eventful than others. Like this weekend, when we took carpools to go to Budapest on a spur of the moment trip. My friend, Hannah, and I just had the travel bug and wanted to get out of town for a weekend. On Thursday we finalized our plans and left Friday morning. That’s part of the beauty of Europe.
We filled our two days to the fullest. Friday night we ate dinner then wandered around the city, buying souvenirs and getting some of the tastiest ice cream I’ve ever had.
Consequently, it was also scooped into the shape of a rose.
We weren’t sure what made a Turkish bath so special, but since we didn’t have other plans and knew they were popular, we bought tickets and went on Saturday morning.
What we had thought might be a two or three hour visit turned into a little over four. I wasn’t expecting it to be so relaxing and enjoyable.
We got to Szechnyi (the biggest bath house in all of Europe!) around 10:15 and immediately got into our ill-fitting swimsuits we’d purchased en route, just looking for something cheap that we could use. Mine is pink with sequins on it, completely not my style. However, it did the trick. And I have to say, as badly as our swimsuits fit, they still looked better than all the older gentlemen in speedos we saw. That’s one part of the experience that I’m not as ready to repeat.
The first pool we swam in was outside. There was a cool breeze, but the sun was warm, so it made the experience of rushing through a circular pool with a strong current even more enjoyable. We immediately agreed that we didn’t have to leave as soon as we’d planned.
The thermal baths, saunas, and pools each had a different temperature, ranging from 18 C to 70 C. My favorite was around 36-38 C. I sat with my arms floating in front of me and my head back in the side of the pool with nearly every muscle in my body relaxed. We hopped from pool to pool since there were around 17, spending very little time in the cold ones and almost half an hour in some.
After we’d made a thorough inspection of each pool and sauna (or nearly every one) and eaten lunch on the outside deck by the lap pool, we sat in the sun, drying off and talking.
The rest of our day consisted of finding our next hostel and exploring the Buda city. The woman who drove our carpool from Vienna to Budapest explained that Budapest is actually two cities: Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube. We were staying in Pest aide, so we took a little trek across the Danube (no big deal, right?) to see the sights on the other side.
Then we smelled something amazing, something that smelled suspiciously like cinnamon cake. We followed our noses (and bought some more souvenirs along the way) and found the above pictured stand. And bought cake.
It tasted even better than it smelled.
We decided to go find a burger for dinner since we’d heard that Budapest had amazing burgers.
I know what you’re thinking. Ashley, you don’t eat burgers.
Touché, dear reader touché. Hannah wanted a burger. I wanted falafel. So we compromised by getting her a burger to go and heading to a Hummus Bar. (doesn’t that sound like a dream come true?) It was just about a perfect compromise.
They put pickles on my falafel sandwich, which I questioned at first, but it ended up being pretty good.
Then we headed back to the bridge to take pictures of the city by night. Unfortunately, my phone camera is a poor substitute for my currently non functional point and shoot, but I got a couple good ones.
Then we walked back to our hostel,
bought baklava on the way, and went to bed in Hungary without feeling a bit hungry.
We ate well this weekend and feasted on laughter and time to relax in the Turkish baths. We walked our feet off (almost literally), got to know each other better, and enjoyed cultural misunderstandings. They’re around every corner, so you just have to enjoy them.
Now we’re on the last leg of our trip about to board a train to Graz, to homework, to our “real life”. We’ll miss Budapest!