Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary
June 14th, 15th 2010

WARNING : Reading further may cause nausea and temporary trauma

I am now temporarily blind. Ok, don’t panic just yet, it’s only a metaphor.I was over at the famous Gellert thermal baths yesterday, trying to relax after a long walk from Pest to Buda (and up and down and around the Citadel). I paid 3900 Florints (~US$17, a tad pricey but worth the experience), head over to the changing rooms, get into my board shorts, and walk over to the pools. There are several pools, each with various temperatures for men/women to soak in (separately but there is one community pool). I walk in and am met with a bunch of old guys staring at me. I think it was the board shorts because everyone else there, was either wearing a piece of loin cloth to cover their front ends, a speedo, or nothing at all. Yes, old men whose skin are so wrinkled and saggy, wearing nothing at all, walking around. Not a pretty sight. I don’t let it faze me but I try hard not to burst out laughing when I thought of how to tell my readers about this.

If you have already gone to the bathroom to vomit, good. The rest is easy. The Gellert thermal baths have apparently been around for centuries. I took a dip in the 36 degree (Celcius) pool, then the 38, then the sauna (5 minutes was an eternity), then 18 degrees to cool off (very cold water), then back to the 36/38.

I left the baths later to head to the market across the bridge. Meats, veggies, fruits, pastries, everything. Was interesting. Took a metro all the way back to near my hostel to explore the area some more but rest of the day was spent watching the World Cup. It was nice to see everyone cheering for North Korea when they scored a late consolation goal, as they were the heavy underdog. Kim Jong Il probably told everyone in North Korea that they won though.

The first day in Budapest was uneventful. Tiger Tim’s was the name of my hostel. At first, I was skeptical about the place, as the reviews were very high on but it was located in an old apartment building. But I slowly realized how charming this hostel really was. It was clean, Tim was an awesome guy, it was a fun cozy place to come back to. It was different from what I was used to I suppose.

I survived mainly on Turkish food and shitty beer (after coming from the beer gold mines of the Czech Republic, I am met with the worst tasting beer possible). It was only around 11 pm on my last night there that I decided to go goulash-hunting. Found a place that served it late so it was a nice way to cap off a good day for me.

I really like Budapest. I wish I could have stayed a bit longer but I’m a bit pressed for time so I’m sitting on a bus to Bratislava (Slovakia) as I type this. I am spending a night there, two nights in Vienna, one in Salzburg, then two in Munich before flying off to London.