Monday, October 24, 2011

Thermal baths, a castle and home cooked Hungarian meal

Hi Anna!

I still can't believe I'm in Budapest! I woke up this morning not feeling the best. It was a slow start to the day and because it was a public holiday, I really didn't know what to do with myself. I read a little bit more on Budapest and then decided to ask the receptionist what he thought and he suggested visiting a thermal bath. I'm not sure if you're aware but Budapest is famous for its thermal baths. Off I went to Szechenyi bath and it was really easy getting there. I love the public system here because it feels safe and is not crowded at all.

Szechenyi bath house

OK so imagine me at the bottom right of the pic :)
I spent about 4 hours at the bath house and my fingers and toes ended up white and withered.and currently my nail tips have gone from white to a grey transparent colour. There are suppose to be up to 20 baths in the place but I ended up alternating between an indoor bath of 38C, the sauna room and the huge outdoor bath. I didn't take photos so you'll have to imagine me somewhere in these photos I 'borrowed' online.

I spent a lot of the time sitting outside because they had water massages and a whirlpool and it was a novelty for me to to be in bathers immersed in warm water and watching the steam rise up into the cold. Almost a mysterious experience. I have no idea what the outside temperature was, maybe about 10C? It was freezing when I got up to get back into the building. The last time I wore bathers was with you in Ibiza so you can imagine what a totally different situation to be in.

It was very crowded and several times I ended up being wedged in between people. Worst was being next to couples that were making out. There were plenty of people young and old and it was fun  people watching and also laughing with an older couple at the ones that were caught in the whirlpool and couldn't get out.It was also good for some reflection time and evaluating life as you do..I was a little hesitant about being solo but as usual I ended up loving it and enjoying my own company.

You can see how huge this place is.but I only stayed within a small part of it- the right side of the outdoor bath because I was too lazy to explore around. It also didn't help that there were no English signs at all and the whole place was like a maze with baths, sauna and massage rooms in every corner.
I felt really tired after all that and when I thought my fingers could not shrivel up any more than they were, it was time to get out.. It was strange to be putting on layers again. I decided to walk around the area aimlessly and leisurely and I came upon a sign that pointed to Vajdahunyad Castle so I decided to check it out. Absolutely beautiful of course!!! I loved being rugged up and walking around in the cold here. I think it is a less miserable cold compared to London. It helps with  beautiful scenery, plenty of  wide open spaces and hardly anyone around.

The castle

 Part of the castle was copied from one in Transylvania but I'm not sure if the bust is but when I first saw this I thought of Count Dracula.
After that I headed back to the hostel because the owners said the were cooking us a free dinner and no way was I going to miss a home cooked meal! It was my first taste of Hungarian and I loved it!! Perfect for the weather. The spice from the Hungarian salami and the paprika was wonderful. I haven't had the chance to talk to the people here but during dinner I found that a few of them were here because there was an international tango event and you dance until you're tired, come back and sleep, then dance again because it's on for 24 hours over the weekend. Talk about intense!
Paprikas krumpli -paprika-based stew with spicy sausage and potatoes. I took a pic of the recipe and will definitely be making this when I get back to London. All I need now is to buy some paprika, one of the most commonly used spice in Hungarian cooking.

Gabora with his head lowered is one of the owners, the other is Francis,  the one standing up and he cooked us the meal
Hope this post took you right to where I am :) Tomorrow I will plan to visit the Central Hall Market, the largest market in Hungary. I can't wait to sample some of their pastries and cakes!!! Reminds me of our market visits in Valencia and Barcelona :)

No comments:

Post a Comment