Budapest Travel Blog› entry 56 of 151 › view all entries
Today I dipped my toe into the bathing culture here. I knew since it was going to be another hot one, I should seek out a pool. The hostel owner recommended one off the City Park that did not require public transport to get to. Off I went...
I arrived at a magnificent building that was located where I thought the pool should be. People were going in and out with towels and such, so I ducked in. Sure enough, it was the thermal bath/pool place I was looking for. Totally reminded me of Road to Wellville reading the descriptions of all that you could get done or get done to you I suppose. I was only interested in the pool this go around, so I went around back to it.
OK, now back home there is a pool with a fence around it and maybe a concrete building attached.
First sight seen was an old saggy lady lathering up. Lovely. I found the lockers and after much discussion with the attendant about lockers and how to rent towels, I stored some stuff. I was not sure about what I could bring poolside, so I ditched my sandwich and opted for my book and water and left the rest of my valuables. Luckily I snapped a photo of the pool from inside the building because apparently that is a no no out there. I found out later you could bring your own food and drinks in, though, so note to self for next time (also note to self, apply sunblock more liberally).
Anyway, finding a towel was a little trickier. I ended up near the men's lockerroom, but found the towels, which were more like sheets. Good enough. Off to the pool. I found a spot near some younger gals and sat, but only a bit as it was hot. Time for a refreshing dip. I slipped into the nearest pool and ahhh, hot. A quick scan of the signs and I realized one side was for a relaxing warm experience, the other cool. I quickly found the other pool and ahh...much better. Soon enough some lifeguards (?) blew their whistles at some girls, gesturing about having their hair up while in the pool, so I realized no one would waste anytime letting me know if I was doing anything wrong.
I basically spent my day going back and forth between towel and cold pool, watching the crowds of old, saggy people mill about, far too many in speedos, some playing chess on some tables in the warmer pool. There were younger folks there for sure, but for some reason the only visions burned in my memory are of the former group.
After a while the theme song to Goldfinger popped in my head as the place was definitely out of some Bond movie. I could see James Bond sitting pool side attracting the ladies while dealing with some matter of national security.
My whole purpose, however, was getting some sun, and that I did. After four hours, my back is fried. I did not try the thermal baths this time around, but I think I will save that for later after I have healed a little.