R-e-l-a-x

Our last full day in Budapest we decided to head to the western side of the city and try out the Turkish baths. We walked down Vací (the shopping district) to get there and stopped to get a lunch of Hungarian goulash.

We went to the Gellért Fürdö bath on the Buda side of the river, underneath a hill with a giant statue called the Szabadság szobor, or independence monument. Ironically, this monument was erected to celebrate the communists victory in liberating Hungary in 1945. However, all of the soviet adornings have since been removed and it now stands for what it should, I guess.

Anyway, the baths were spectacular. The Gellèrt baths are housed in a hotel of the same name and allow you to cycle through an above ground pool “with artificial undulation,” an enclosed swimming pool, and the actual bath section which is gender segregated. We spent most out time in the bath rotating between the 38C water designed to open your pores, the steam room designed to help sweat out the crap in your skin, and the cold plunge designed to be really cold. After about 5 (VJ will tell you he did 6, but he did not) revolutions of this cycle over the course of 3 hours we felt pretty good…my skin felt new, like I was breaking it in for the first time.

We headed back along the Buda side of the river past the waterfall coming down from the statue, crossed back over to the Pest side and sat down at a cafe in a small square at the end if Vacì for multiple beers. We were also killing some time until it got dark as we were told this was the best way to see Hösök tere (Hero’s square) which was our next stop.

We took the orange line out to the square and by this time it was pretty dark. The square is set up as two symmetric arcs each containing 7 statues of old kings/rulers/etc of Hungary. In between the two arcs is a tall obelisk with an angel perched on top with a crown of laurels and a double barred cross. This things symbolize something, but I’m pretty sure I forgot what.

We went for a few more night photograph runs, particularly the chain bridge and castle hill, as well the basicillica right by our hostel an headed back to get some sleep. We head to Prauge tomorrow morning.

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