Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Gellert Baths and the Citadel

A day from breezenjen's travel blog:

Going to the Baths is one of the top 10 things to do in Budapest, so naturally we had to go to one. There must be a dozen baths in and around the city. We decided on the Gellert Baths on the Buda side. The Gellert Baths are located just across the Freedom Bridge and is difficult to miss. It’s adjacent to the massive Gellert Hotel. Before going to the Baths, we walked around and admired the hotel. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful with an outdoor café and pristine grounds. There is a gazebo in the front and if you walk a little further, there are gorgeous flowers in bloom. The weather was perfect for taking a walk and taking in the sites before getting into the water.
After lots of confusion on what kind of ticket to get (the Gellert Baths offer lots of services from massage to sauna to different kinds of baths), we decided that we just wanted to frolic in the pool area.

At the ticket booths you buy your ticket to the bath as well as “cabin.” A “cabin” is personal locker where you can change and store your personal items.
The Gellert Baths are gorgeous. Take some time to walk around the inside of the building. The architecture, the sculptures and the intricate tile work in the place will amaze you.
The baths are supplied by warm water from natural mineral springs that surround the city. The thermal water has medicinal properties and are supposed to promote health and wellness. There are a few pools that you can swim in. There is an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and a warmer Jacuzzi type pool outside. We started with the outdoor pool. Every hour the wave machine makes waves in this pool. So if you feel the desire to, you can ride the waves.

It’s pretty fun just playing in it. The waves last about 10 minutes. After that we sat in the warm Jacuzzi for a while and lastly, did some laps in the indoor pool. There are plenty of seats, so if you want to just enjoy the sunshine or read a book, you can do that as well.
I must say there must be some truth in the fact that the water has some wellness effects. I have been just imagining this, but I did feel that my skin was much softer and not as dry after enjoying the baths.
After the baths we crossed the Freedom Bridge and made our way to the Great Market, had lunch, did a little shopping and walked through the Vaci Utca.
During the evening time we decided to explore the Citadel. The Citadel is located in the Buda hills. The Citadel was built in the mid 1800's as a fortress to protect the city but it was never used as one.

Now it's just another tourist attraction with some old cannons, some interesting architecture but some amazing views. There's not much to do or see at the Citadel at night. You can walk around a bit and admire the statues. The most impressive one is the Independence Monument, which has become a symbol of freedom. It's a towering statue that is recognizable from many parts of the city. Besides seeing the statues, the views from the Citadel are gorgeous. If you take a short walk around the Citadel, you will be treated to the lights from the Castle and Parliament. You'll want to stop here for a while and admire the night skyline of the city. One shouldn't miss the opportunity to see this.
This Best of Budapest city tour ended with a bath in Gellert Bath. Try it.

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