Budapest can be described in many ways. Separated by the Danube both sides, Buda and Pest, are a pot of mysteries, magic, music, food and culture. The Hungarian Capital has so many faces. It is a mysterious imperial city from the medieval times, a metaphorical settling with dragons and mystical atmosphere.
This is an Western Capital located in an Oriental environment. The city still holds on to that imperial past, the times of castles and kings, its magic all around.
This was one city I was intrigued by, but didn’t expected much since it is very touristic. But the moment I stepped out of the train station Budapest Keleti, I was immersed in a world of fantasy.
It is such an exotic city for me, coming from the New World where the oldest buildings have no more than 200 hundred years… So seeing dragon sculptures, castles and fortresses built against the side of the hills, medieval streets and architecture… it is a trip to a fairytale land for me.
Budapest is famous, among other things, because of its Turkish baths. The Turkish culture is all around the city (the best Kebab I’ve ever tried was by the train station Keleti).
There are several baths in the city, the more renamed are: Geller (more upscale), Széchenyi (the most famous one, yellow building) and Rudas (gorgeous and where locals go).
I visited Rudas. This one has days exclusively for female or male visitors, the day I was going was a Tuesday and it was the females day!
This was one of the best experiences I had during this trip and I am saving it in my memory. After a while, after seeing so many cities and beautiful places, you start keeping just those special moments. Rudas thermal bath in Budapest is one of those.
You buy your ticket at the front desk and also book the massage there, if you want to get one (highly recommended). I paid something like 12500 Forints and got the longest massage (50 minute thermal massage), that would equal to almost 40 Euros. Very affordable compared to the spa prices in the US.
There are several different thermal pools you can access. Starting from the lowest temperature 28 degrees, 3o, 33 and 42. In the center theres the main pool with a perfect temperature of 36 degrees.
The ceiling is a cupola with many little colored glass windows that change the lighting of the pools depending where the sun hits it. It is just a magical environment.
They also have an extra cold pool in the room after the main one, this one offers 11.5 degrees… 3 seconds under it and my feet were frozen.
Besides the relaxation of the environment, and the wonderful effects of the thermal water for your body, I learned something important. How equal we all are. For us Latin Americans, who are not so comfortable with naked bodies, it can be a little surprising. Even though there were all women.
No matter the shape of your body, your age, your weight, we are all one. And how natural it seems after a while, to see naked people around you. It is just that simple. Not shame, not judgments. Just a natural state.
I met a woman from Jerusalem, a city that has been holding my interest captive for many years. I want to visit the holy city in this lifetime. She told me about life in Tel Aviv and in Israel. How this people deal with their hard reality, with what had been happening in Gaza for so many years. It had become unfortunately part of their every day life.
What she told me is, the people of both sides want peace. But both of our governments want to win. And that is so infuriating, how a few certain people have so much power in the life of so many? And this is everywhere in the world, and its this way since the beginning of human history. But seeing these people around me and feeling we are all equal in nature, we are all the same essence, it made huge contrast with the thought of a few controlling the rest of us.
Budapest has a exciting nightlife and wonderful secret spots that you can only discover if you adventure yourself into the dungeons-looking entrances.
I also visited the so-called “most beautiful café in the world”, I haven’t been in every cafe in the world but this one is amazing.
When you fall in love with a city not length of time spent there will be enough. I could spend the rest of my life in my favorite city, The Eternal One, and that won’t be enough. So my few days in Budapest felt so little, this city has so much more to discover and surprise you with.