Turkish Baths are steamy! With the baths being a staple and communal meeting point of the city, we had to go and take a dip...and heat, ice, steam and sauna ourselves to have a real Hungarian experience. The entrance fee to the main bath in the central park was about 2,200 forints (roughly 9 euros) and if you leave within two hours, you get 400 back, after four hours, 200 back and so on. After changing in the locker rooms with curtains as doors and a friendly Hungarian chamberman who locks your belonging up for you, gives you a tag different to your locker number and says "remember locker number!", we walked into the rooms of various temperatured pools containing many different mineral contents, water clarity and big burly Buda men in speedos. They didn't even need the speedos, their hairy bellies covered everything anyways. Not to be neglected were the rotund Pest babushka women. It was difficult to tell whether the some of the pools were murky because of the strange characters in them or because of the strange sulfur smelling minerals. When in Hungary......do as the Hungarians do and disregard the strange smells and murky waters.
So, we must have visited at least 10 different types of baths, ranging from -16 Celsius to +38 Celsius (Arctic cold and scorching hot for you Americans who only know Fahrenheit--like being on the moon and the sun!), rubbed ourselves wit ice shavings, beared the packed sauna and sweat our weight in liquid, showered by the outdoor fountain pool, steamed the sweat we lost back into our bodies in the steam room, propelled by the jets in the whirlpools, and made our skin glow with youthfulness. It was like the Waterworld of Disneyland without Kevin and Walt. The main outdoor pools were used as meeting points for business men to talk and play chess (yes, also in the pool was a chess board). A novel idea, these Baths were. Nora and I couldn't understand why they had no caught on in the States, or why it costs an arm and a leg to go to a "Day Spa" in the US while even the poorest people are visiting the Baths in Budapest.
The extreme temperatures of the baths left us drained, exfoliated and rejuvenated. We even received 200 forints back for leaving!!! A high recommendation if you are ever in a Turkish influenced place.
Mind the big, hairy, burly men in Speedos.