After my last post I went to one of the fancy old public baths in Budapest. It was giant neoclassical complex built in the mid-1800s and painted bright yellow. Turned out not to be anything like the Turkish baths; instead, it was a hot springs on steroids.
We started outside, in a series of pools and fountains, alternating between the hot pool and the cool pool. They were fun and had some nice features (currents, fountains, jets, etc.), but nothing really outstanding other than being pretty. Inside, however, was a whole different matter. There were tons of little pools with finely differentiated temperatures. So, for example, we could jump from a pool that was 38 C (104 F) to one that was 25 C (77 F) and then to one that was 28 C (82 F). And then to change things up, we could step into one of saunas at, say 60 C (140 F), for a few minutes and then jump back into one of the cooler pools to cool off.
All of that was really fun, and we thought we were getting pretty good, but then we found the REAL deal: Downstairs was a sauna that had no marked temperature but was way hotter than the other saunas and felt like infinity degrees Celsius (which converts into roughly infinity degrees Fahrenheit). Just outside the door to that sauna was a basin of ice shavings. The idea was to take a slab of ice into the super-hot sauna and stay there for as long as possible, and then come out and jump into the adjacent pool that was 16 C (60 F), which was by far the coldest of all the pools and, in comparison to the sauna, was absolutely shocking. Of course I did the full rigamarole and was properly wilted in the sauna and reinvigorated in the freezing pool. It was pretty awesome.
|No risk of putting on weight with this lunch…|
|I love (LOVE!) grilled corn on the cob from street vendors|
That pretty much wrapped up our stay in Budapest. The next morning we headed out for Croatia and, more particularly, the Plitvice National Park, which is famous for its series of cascading lakes.