Jun 022010

Ever since my arrival I’ve been waiting for a warm day to visit Budapest’s famous thermal baths. Although the most well-known images do show huge indoor pools under vaulted ceilings and skylights, most of the complexes in fact contain numerous outdoor pools as well – some seem almost like mini waterparks, with wave pools and lazy lagoons. One or two of the photos I’ve seen even reminded me of the lavish swimming pools of Las Vegas – and I certainly didn’t want to go to a complex like that on a rainy day, limiting myself only to the chlorinated indoor air. That would defeat half the purpose.

But alas, such a warm day never came. So at the first hint of sunshine on my last Thursday in Budapest, I quickly grabbed my swimtrunks and dashed out the door – Gellert Baths, arguably the most famous, is just a few blocks from where I’m staying so I figured I could make it there before the clouds once again consumed the sky.

I failed. But at least I made it before the rain resumed, and got a brief taste of the courtyard wave pool – even if I was one of the only people there.

Back indoors, I was surprised at how different the “Thermal Baths” were from what I’d expected: the main pool was actually quite chilly, and even the hottest hot-water tub barely topped out at 38 degrees. Perhaps my perception is just a bit skewed after years of living in Japan, where the Onsen get so hot your skin literally turns red on contact; often you have to dip into consecutively warmer pools to have a hope of reaching the hottest (which I personally never have).

Still, I’m glad I got a chance to do it – as the thermal baths were right up near the top of my list for Budapest – along with a Kertek (outdoor garden party, none of which happened due to the rain) and of course the recently mentioned visit to my “family heritage sites.” Fingers crossed that I get a second chance to cross off that last item off the list πŸ™‚

  13 Responses to “Gellert Baths”

  1. Yep, that would be on the very top of my list too. Yet I wouldn’t necessarily see a rainy day as a bad thing. The sun can be too much in warm water. There’s nothing like sitting in a lovely rotemburo in light drizzle or a thin veil of snow. Or maybe those are my Nordic genes speaking πŸ™‚

  2. I agree with Peder….rain and hot springs go hand in hand

  3. …Except that the outdoors pool was a cool wave pool, like a swimming pool, not a steaming outdoors mineral bath. You probably wouldn’t go to a waterpark in the rain. A least I wouldn’t πŸ˜›

  4. A waterpark in the rain actually sounds fun πŸ™‚

  5. FREEZING cold!

  6. Stop being such a freezepin, California-boy πŸ˜›

  7. I went to Summer Land in Tokyo, and when it started raining in the last two hours, it was doubly more fun. The raindrops pelting you as you go down a 17m slide is quite exhilirating. πŸ˜›

    Oh and I recently started taking hot and cold showers every morning, which totally helps for cold endurance. Try it out!

  8. Hot and cold showers? No thanks, wacko! hehe πŸ˜›

  9. This blog post inspired me to start the wacky cold showers. I can’t vouch for its complete veracity, but at least it wakes me up in the morning. πŸ˜›

  10. Sounds like a classic Kramer scheme to me. Next you’ll start sleeping 10 minutes every hour, and shaving with butter πŸ˜›

  11. And scream racial profanities at groups of people? Oh wait…I already do that. πŸ˜‰ (as a joke of course!)

    But athletes really do dip into hot and cold baths after an intense workout. There’s some science behind it! It’ll also save on utilities. Man up and get used to the cold! πŸ˜›

  12. I’m a SoCal boy. I don’t like the cold πŸ˜›

  13. butter shave……HAHAHAHAHA

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