It is our last day in Budapest and yet there were two things to do before we leave this engrossing city, the very popular thermal baths of Budapest and the equally fun place-The Szimpla Ker Ruin bar.
Our first place of visit for today, thermal baths at Szecheneyi Thermal Baths in Budapest, is the largest and the best baths in Europe. It attracts a huge population of tourists each year because of its medicinal properties of the spa baths. People leave this place rejuvenated and relaxed. There are around 15 indoor pools and 3 huge outdoor pools. The Neo-baroque palace was specifically built for hosting Baths; Hungary has always been a country of baths.
We entered this massive structure just to realise we had forgotten our towels. No worries, there is a shop just opposite the main entrance where they sell costumes, towels and caps for ladies. You are not allowed to swim the outdoor pools without a cap!!
We go straight to our changing cabins but before that we put all our important belongings in a rented locker.
As we stride in, we get a view of this massive outdoor pool and people relaxing: some inside, others outside. It did look crowded in the month of May, probably because it was the start of the holiday season.
We make ourselves comfortable in the indoor pools. The pools have medicinal values. There are hot, very hot, cold and very cold water pools. I found it quite difficult to stay in the very hot and the very cold pools. The showers too had varying temperature. You just need to sit and relax your body with the medicinal waters at work.
In addition to these there are many steam/ sauna cabins, massage therapies and more. I saw people drinking the medicinal water from the drinking water taps there. People also play chess games in the outdoor grand pools: it is relaxing. After relaxing in the pools for half a day it was time for us to dry ourselves and leave for our next destination.
The Szimpla Kert Ruin bar can easily be reached by walking from the square of St Stephen’s Basilica. Walking the streets of Budapest is the better way to know the way of life and culture of this city. As we stand at the entrance of the bar there is a gush of enthusiasm and happiness. This has been on my bucket list.
The ruin bars are seedy, abandoned buildings done up with wacky and unique decoration pieces. There is food and liquor available and in evenings there are Christmas lights to add to the total vibe-crazy and funky. This part of Budapest is something that is very difficult to explain in words, it is to be seen and experienced, and so I went on a clicking spree to capture the essence of this wild and artistic place.
You will find television sets with many more electronics items along with wires hanging from the ceiling. It gets lighted and you can enjoy a drink or two with food at these bars where even the tables are etched and written on with colours or paints.
The walls and doors/windows are painted and full of drawings, the decor might have a child’s tricycle or an umbrella.
The tables are colourful to look at, the chairs are all mismatched. The entire decor is not in sync- it is what makes the bar so special.
I somehow could not help but remember the Japanese zen word for imperfection, incomplete, ‘Wabi- sabi’. Imperfection is beautiful, artistic and fun.
The ruin bars of Budapest are a must visit for any tourist in Budapest, you will find it in all the brochures and catalogues you come across on Budapest tourism. It is very touristy but do visit it in Budapest.
By the time we finished witnessing the most Sui genesis of bars, we were totally famished. Just about a few minutes walk from there we came across this restaurant that would serve us Lebanese veg food. The place was open to sky with a warm feel to it. We ordered a salad and hummus with olives along with pita bread.
Our next and last visit was the promenade along the Danube on the Pest side. We stride along the stretch which has many cafeteria’s and restaurants. There was a person making music with glass and just outside the restaurant where we would have our dinner; a person played a musical instrument to light up the ambience.
It was the last dinner in Budapest and there was a feeling of contentment over the 3 days spent so well.