Visit to Szechenyi Spa followed by the House of Terror

Another day another Spa. In Budapest this can be true. We decided to go early to avoid the big crowds. Hmmmmm

This time we chose Szechenyi Spa in City Park. Another great park. This one equally as large and lovely as Margaret Island Park. .  We arrived on the bus no 105 at a huge square or Piazza with amazing statues.

We entered the park and passed a pool where the FINA ynchronised wimming was taking place. We could tell by the loud music echoing across the park. Then a castle. A large one. So fairytale like, I was entranced. It was Vajdahonyad Castle built in 1896. So romantic. It overlooks what is usually an ice skating rink in winter but now home the synchronised swimming!

We kept walking along paths past beautiful fields with large trees, people sunbaking, children playing, dogs and their owners romping , tennis courts, skate board park, a zoo and finally the Spa. It is amazing. It looks like a castle! It’s larger than Gellert Spa on the Buda side. It was built in 1909 in the modern renaissance style. We stood in line for the only ticket office open. I must say this is something that could improve in Budapest! The ticket lines can be long and slow. So try and book whatever you can on-line.

This is the entrance to the Spa

But once inside it was well organised. You buy your ticket which can be either a locker, or for more money, a cabin. We just got lockers. You don’t really need a cabin to change in. Once again we went off to the male / female change rooms and left our gear in lockers. This time I kept more things with me. Hat, sunnies, cream, towel, swim cap, a little money and my phone for photos.

Here is a list of the pools you can visit. Some are indoor, some outdoor. There are heaps of sun lounges if you can manage to get one as well as chairs, a cafe and a constant parade of people from every corner of the world. All traipsing about from pool to pool and some getting burnt! It was hot.

We started in the outdoor 30% pool and then the lap pool which was 26%.

Then we moved inside and the pools went on from one room to the next. On and on. We tried the 40 degree pool. Sizzling hot! Then into the 20 deg  pool. Chillingly refreshing. There are foot baths before entering each pool and lots of saunas and showers you are  encouraged to use. It’s such an interesting place.


I did not get into this one. Way too many people for me!

I found the aqua class, which is included in the price and I was encouraged to get in by Christina, a local lady who was just delightful. So there I was doing Aqua with the locals. My Aqua girls at home will be impressed! Christina said she decided to holiday at home this summer and was at the pool most days doing 3 Aqua classes, swimming 2 km, having a massage and sunbathing. Sounds good to me.

Christina my new friend is on the left in blue.

We had secured a shady spot with a sun lounge and could see the big screen they had up to show the FINA World Cup acitivities. There was the synchronised swimming! Followed by the women’s waterpolo. By now we were in the swing of it and were enjoying ourselves very much. Not quite the beach but pretty good.

View from my sun lounge.

We had some lunch and finally decided enough. It was hot. So back through the labyrinth of corridors to our change rooms. Not sure how the men handle the change rooms but the women show a distinct range of behaviours. The older women, probably local and the Japanese / Chinese are all walking around in the shower area sans swimmers. Others like the British and American are not quite so … bare.

So, freshened up we headed off to walk the rest of the park and down Boulevard Andressy to the House of Terror. Steve had tried to go the other day but the queue was too long. Today very little queue outside so we joined it. As people came out the line was admitted. Inside there was a queue as well  – to a single open ticket desk. And the man from the door intermittently yelled move on move on. If only we could!

Finally in we went. It had spooky music playing to get you in the mood for the story of Hungary under occupation. First by the Nazi Germans then the Soviets. These poor people endured so much. Communism was a blight they endured after the war , during the Revolution in the 1950’s until finally the Soviest left in 1991.

NO Photos allowed!

It was an unusual display with the unfriendliest guards I have encountered . At one point we were held in a room with about 8 others and told not to move! We stood there and waited. He wouldn’t answer questions about why we were there. Until finally we were ushered along a ramp into lift …….that moved down slowly enough for the little movie in the lift to tell us how the objectors to communism were hanged. It was quite scary.

Finally out of the House of Terror and back to our apartment. I am very pleased not to have lived through that time.

Dinner tonight was at Bock Bistro. I can definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Budapest. It was great. And no more than 7 mins from our apartment. Thank you Trip Advisor.

Had to have the local Chicken Goulash. Delicious.

And so another day in beautiful Budapest.

Only one day left.

Tonight we heard from Rob’s friend Pietro. He played with Rob at the Beijing Olympics. He now lives and plays in Italy!  He has tickets for tomorrow night’s sold out game –  Italy vs Aus!  Thank you Pietro. I’m so pleased we had a very special dinner tonight. Tomorrow night it’s waterpolo!

Pools, Parks and Parliament

Today we went for the three P’s for a perfect day. Pool, Park, Parliament.

We started with the Pool. It’s been a while since Rob played waterpolo so we hardly know a person in the Australian team. But we decided to go and support them and relive some memories. We were thrilled to see Locky Hollis in the team. For those who know Rob you might remember the ‘Support Rob and Locky campaign’ when they were facing their cancer treatment. Today Locky scored 3 goals and looked terrific. Australia  are playing in the World Cup and faced France today. This was a good one to see as they won. 11-10. Not so good against Hungary two days ago.

This took us onto Margaret Island which we wanted to see. It’s an island that sits in the middle of the Danube between Buda and Pest. And it’s lovely. I’m so impressed with this city. After the waterpolo we toured the island in a little covered bicycle. These and assorted other bicycles, peddle cars, electric cars and mini trains can be hired from about $10 per half hour.

I did do some peddling!

The park has wonderful musical fountains , cycle paths, a rose garden, a Japanese garden, several swimming pools, a small children zoo with animals found in Hungary, a church, several restaurants and lots of shaded areas to walk or just rest. I loved it.

The musical fountain. So great to sit and watch.

Steve would have rented one of these if he’d seen it first.

After exploring the park we headed  back over the bridge for lunch  (Goulash soup for Steve and tuna salad for me with two beers and a glass of Rose – about $40. ) and  a visit to Parliament (just under $A50). This building is amazing. They aren’t afraid of spending money to finance big buildings. We couldn’t get onto a tour until 5.15 so went wandering and returned later. If coming here, I suggest you jump online and book your tour ahead.

The sculptures I have mentioned before and I loved this one of Imre Nagy,  a former Prime Minister, standing on a sculptured bridge  gazing back towards Parliament. I just had to get alongside him and enjoy the view.

We wandered further and found some great spurting water features with children running through screaming with laughter. I wanted to run with them !

We returned later for the tour and it’s amazing inside the Parliament as well as outside.

Main Staircase. There are 196 rooms!

The Assembly where the Parliament meets.

This building was built after a competition for the architect with Imre Steindl the winner. It was started in  1885 and completed in 1904. It was damaged in the war but repaired and rebuilt. It’s stunning. The same architect also designed the Opera House which we visited yesterday.

From Parliament we went to Vaci  Street known as the shopping Street. Like many cities now, they have all the usual chain stores. From Dior to Mango, Ecco shoes  to H&M. Th world is getting smaller even in shopping terms.

So we retreated to  a people watching bar and ending up chatting to a New Zealander. He was an interesting man who had just been to his son’s wedding in Prague. His wife, a NZ politician, had returned home and he was continuing to holiday!

We had booked a river cruise at 9.30 so after our pre-dinner drinks we had quick street food from some vans in the square nearby and made our way to the boat.

I had read the  Legenda boats offered an hours trip including a drink for $45 a couple. I booked online and it proved to be a good idea. We got seats on the open air , top deck and it was great. There are cruises offering dinner but this would be a distraction to the sights.  Budapest by night is magical.

Parliament by night.

The Palace by night

The Chain Bridge

So ended another great day in Budapest.