Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pool Time

Day 333
Budapest Rest Day 2

No drunk people last night – it was rather quiet. We had another “sleep in” morning and then ate the usual bowl of muesli and drank the usual cup of coffee.
Our plan for the day was a leisurely one – go to the park and take in the thermal baths followed by a café stop. Since we still had some time on our bus ticket from yesterday, we hopped back on and rode to Hosok Tere aka Hero’s Square. The area is a collection of beautiful bronze monuments dedicated to the 896 Magyar (Hungarian) conquest of the Carpathian Basin. We lingered a bit to take some pictures and contemplate the long history of this country. The most remarkable thing to me is that most of the city was destroyed by bombing in World War II and everything was rebuilt to the style and character of the city. Amazing…
After a short walk from the square we found Szchenyi Furdo, one of many thermal baths in Budapest. This complex was opened in 1908 and has both indoor and outdoor pools. The place was definitely a busy hive of activity and we enjoyed the people watching just as much as the water. I’m trying to talk Chris into changing his swimming attire from baggies to a banana hammock. I think something in shiny blue might be nice.
After a good soak we packed up our things and strolled down Andrassy, Budapest’s version of the Champs Elysees. The avenue is lined with beautiful trees and lavish homes. In the days of horse and carriage, this end of Andrassy had alleyways lined with wooden boards so that horse’s shoes would not disturb the affluent citizens.
Instead of coffee we had an ice cream at an up-market café called Lucaks. Apparently, it used to be the old stomping ground of the secret police. There is now a museum just down the street dedicated to their former exploits called the Terror Haza. We didn’t venture instead but read that it is quite the draw.
Tonight we’re going to venture out and see the city lights. I’ve read that castle hill, across the Danube, is quite spectacular at night.

Here’s to speedos,

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