A big city throws up challenges and one of them is sorting the public transport. As much as we love walking, the distances can be a killer. So we dutifully studied the maps and used some guides which suggested which buses , trolleys buses, trams and metro ran near the sights we want to visit. We also bought a 5 day travel pass. It just means we can travel on any means of transport as many times as we like. This is good for a new big city.
I’m also good at asking one of the visitor helpers or even the Police for help. In doing so we got across the river and up to the Palace in good time before the crowds. We saw the “informal changing of the guard”. Not quite Buckingham Palace but very good.
Then walked along in front of the rather huge Palace. It’s slowly being restored after earthquakes and bombing from the war and the views back across the river to Pest are wonderful.
We stopped for coffee with a view. This is how we manage to keep going all day. We have little breaks.
We then made it to St Matthias. A beautiful church which appears to be so huge outside but is more intimate inside. It’s heavily painted inside and has lovely ceramic tiles on the roof which had to be replaced after WW2. It was inside that we found out more about the crowning of Austrian Franz Josef as King and his beautiful wife Elizabeth as his Queen. The story is well told in the museum adjoining the church. It was here I looked up and down.
We walked along the wall called The Fishermens’ Bastion. It’s stunning with it turreted towers and beautifully restored stone work.
Then it was time for lunch sitting under jaunty red umbrellas in a Parisian style cafe.
Steve was keen to go to the Hospital in the Rock. What a story. We had Timi as our guide and heard the story of the caves under the Palace Hill and how they were hollowed and used as a Red Cross hospital during the war. Such great displays in the labyrinth of tunnels. They were also set up for a nuclear bomb in the 1950’s. The story touched on the bombs dropped on Japan during WW2 and how now we should understand the devastation this brings, and so – “No War”.
By now we had walked all around the hilltop known as Buda, so returned by bus to the river to visit our first of the Spas. Budapest is known as The City of Spas so we felt we had to start checking them out.
The baths of Budapest date back to the first century. Both Romans and Turkish influences can be seen. In the late 19th century the artisan wells were drilled to provide the thermal waters. So now Budapest boasts about having the largest number of spa thermal pools in Europe.
So we entered the St Gellert Thermal pools and went through the process of preparing our bodies for the variety of spas available! There are 4 outdoor thermal pools, several indoor spas and pools, an activity pool and various corridors of lockers and cabins and treatment rooms. It’s huge. And swimming costumes are required, so I wasn’t facing nude day like when I was in Baden Baden in Germany a few years ago!
We said goodbye to each other as we headed into the change rooms with our plastic wrist watch with a tag to be able to access a locker. Then it’s into the swimmers , have a shower and meet up again outside. It was quite crowded with people. Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures. I had to leave my camera in the locker as I didn’t trust myself not to lose it outside.
These three I took of posters on the wall! It’s so over the top. We have nothing like it in Australia.
Our first pool was 36′ and we slipped in and found a step. It was wall to wall sitters. All in state of relaxation. We sat under a rather forceful shower which hammered at our necks and after awhile it proved to be relaxing. Then we took to the cool pool at 26′ so felt quite refreshed. Then we went to the indoor pools and wallowed a little more. We’d forgotten our bathing caps so couldn’t enter the ‘swimming pool’!
So for about 2 hours we relaxed and enjoyed and finished with a shower before returning to our apartment relaxed.
I’d recommend it ! And we’re doing it all again at another spa on Wednesday.