Turkish Baths

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One of the things I really love about Budapest is the Bath culture. It is incredibly relaxing and such an amazing way to pamper yourself.

Last night, this bath culture (which stems from the times when Budapest was under Ottoman control), became even more a favorite experience of mine.

Why? The Rudas Baths, the only bath house which still dates its architecture back to the 16th Century, is open on weekend nights from 10PM to 4AM. And me and a few of my colleagues (&friends!) decided to take the opportunity to spoil ourselves silly.

We began with appetizers at the best Mexican restaurant in the city; enjoying each others company while we waited for the bath house to open. Then we walked in the crisp fall evening air along the Danube and across the Elizabeth Bridge to a very small and uninteresting entrance. However, once we got in and got changed into our suits all that disappeared - it is beautiful.

It had one larger pool in the center of this vaulted ceiling which has stained glass circles in it (which must be beautiful during the day when light pours in) and four smaller pools in the corners of the rooms. Each have different thermal waters at different temperatures - the lowest was 28C (which it said recommended no longer than 30 minutes continuous bathing at that temperature) and the hottest was 45C (which it said recommended no longer than 5 minutes continuous bathing at that temperature - ha! it was HOT). There was a sauna, a steam room, a FREEZING pool (that didn't bother to even tell you a temperature other than "COLD!"), and even some rooms with these massuse-like benches so you could go take a nap and a break from the waters.

We only stayed from 10-2 (seriously, after 4 hours in hot bathtub-like water your skin starts to look like it's going to fall off!), but it was the most amazing evening! I think we're already scheming a way to make this at least a monthly occurrence. And we're definitely going next Saturday - it's the Budapest "Night of the Baths" where you pay one entrance to all bath houses, and the Rudas Baths are having Turkish food and Turkish music all night. Sounds like heaven to me!

Seriously, people back in the day really knew how to live and relax! We could take a note or two from them!


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