A Day Of Miracles

By Stephen Ewashkiw | May 26, 2013

2283 km so far.

We took full advantage of Barbi and David’s flat today. Jane slept in while I caught up with friends on Facebook and read the news. We then had an easy morning as we stayed in, catching up on emails, blog posts, photo editing, and coffee drinking. It was so great to be indoors, comfortable, and not feel the pressure to order another coffee or pastry as happens when we do this work in a café. The luxury of a kettle, a sofa, a wall socket, and good company should not – must not – be underestimated.

We had very little planned for today and I was determined that this would be a day we stuck to that plan. Yes, there are countless tourist sights we could visit in Budapest, but I wanted this to be the one day where we did very little of that, and just looked after ourselves.

It Is A Miracle If You Get To Spend Your Day Doing Whatever You Want

I love Turkish baths, and the termes we have visited so far on the trip haven’t quite been what I was looking for. They are more swimming pools with thermal water than hammam. I had read about two actual Turkish baths in Budapest and was determined to visit at least one of them during our stay in the city.

Sunday (today) at Rudas Bath everyone is welcome (some days are men-only and some days for women, but a couple of days each week are mixed days). So, after our work, Jane and I walked over to Rudas.

The baths were renovated just a couple of years ago and they are spectacular. There is a large dome with coloured glass over the main pool. The water is warm, about 29C, and isn’t too smelly, as it was at the termes. Gazing up at the light coming through the dome, I felt transported back in time.

The main pool is surrounded by smaller pools at the periphery of the room, each labelled with their own temperature, ranging from 28C to a very hot 42C. Each has a slightly different mix of thermal water, so some of the smaller baths are smellier than others, but this also (apparently) gives them better medicinal properties.

We didn’t want to take the camera into a wet and steamy bathhouse, so here are a bunch of other people’s photos of Rudas.

Rudas also has a series of Finnish saunas that are connected via a series of glass doors. As you go deeper into the saunas, the rooms get hotter, until you reach the final room which is an extremely hot 72C. I love hot saunas, but the heat in this room was so intense I could only spend 6 minutes at a time in it.

Next to the Finnish saunas are a couple of steam baths. There are two connected rooms and, like the saunas, the first room is less hot than the second. The hottest room was very intense; it was so hot that breathing through my nose was impossible, or I’d have burned my nostrils.

As is usual there was also a very cold plunge pool. The idea of the plunge pool is to close up the pores you have opened in the hot water, hot steam, or hot sauna so that any toxins and pollutants in your skin are expelled. What I know is that after getting your internal temperature incredibly high in the various baths and rooms, the plunge pool feels amazing.

Cleansed, relaxed, and refreshed, we felt thoroughly decadent having spent the entire afternoon pampering ourselves in a 600-year-old bath house.

It Is A Miracle If You Have Enough Food To Eat

Jane and I offered to make dinner for our hosts tonight. It is so nice to have a full kitchen to cook in and, as you know, I love to cook.

I also really enjoy cooking a vegetarian (tonight was vegan) meal for people who don’t normally eat vegetarian. It’s nice to help dispel the myth that all vegan food is bland, insubstantial, and boring.

We made fresh tahini with falafels and cooked up Hungarian red potatoes and yellow paprika (peppers). Jane made a delicious salad with walnuts, sunflowers seeds, local lettuce, and tomatoes. Paired with a delicious Hungarian Pinot Noir, it was a perfectly decadent dinner to prepare us for the decadence of Gatsby.

It Is A Miracle If You Can Find True Friends

After dinner we took the tram with David and Barbi to go see The Great Gatsby. I had managed to find one screening that was OV (Original Version). Jane and I love the world that Baz Lurhmann creates in his films, and we were excited that we would be able to see his latest the way it was meant to be seen (on a big screen, in 3D, in English).

We loved the surrealism and the over-the-top world of the film, but David and Barbi were less impressed. Still, for us, it was the perfect decadent end to a perfectly decadent day.  

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  1. Comment by Taina

    Taina May 30, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Truly, deeply jealous of your day at the baths… that sounds and looks like heaven! Amazing. And thanks for the shout out to my peeps for the saunas :).

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane May 30, 2013 at 10:05 am

      I still don’t think we’ve visited a really great bath – this one was cool, but not like a Hammam, where you can scrub yourself clean. Nice to sit and do nothing in some thermal water though!

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