OK, take a look at the photo below. If you had to guess, what would you think is housed in that building? A museum, maybe? A library? A theater or a government building? Those would be solid guesses... but wrong. This is a photo of the Szechenyi Baths, one of the largest spas in all of Europe. (Apparently, Hungarians don’t mess around when it comes to spas... Gotta love it.)
We didn’t waste any time in getting to a spa, which are found all over the city. (There are over two-dozen, government-owned thermal baths there.) Upon arriving in Budapest, we immediately joined three guys we had met on the train and set out for the Szechenyi Baths, which are naturally heated by two thermal springs. The baths are basically like a gigantic swimming pool (or three) at home---except the water is about 100 degrees (or more), there are plenty of jets and whirlpools, the surrounding structure is ancient, and speedo-clad Hungarians are everywhere. More specifically, the Szecheny Baths has three huge outdoor pools (all of different temperature) and a slew of indoor hot tubs and saunas (again, all of different temperature). Very, very cool.
The next day, we met up again with our three friends from the train (Chris, Rob, and Dan) and joined a bike tour of the city. Highly recommended, especially for a sprawling city like Budapest. (We’ve rented a bike in every European city so far except Prague… Always a good time.) You can check out all of our Budapest photos by clicking here. After four nights in Budapest, we head to the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia, where we meet up with our friend, Crystal. (Crystal is from Seattle, but she has been teaching in Aberdeen, Scotland for the past two years.)
We are planning to spend six days in Slovenia with Crystal before moving on to Croatia. More soon…