Looking for somewhere to go on your next vacation? Maybe even spring break? Budapest’s natural beauty, exquisite architecture and relaxing thermal spas are definitely calling your name. Get ready to pack your bags, because the final post of the Budapest travel series is here!
To recap from my first two days in Budapest (which you can refresh yourself on here and here) I pretty much instantly fell in love with the city. The romantically detailed architecture, gorgeous river and landscapes, friendly people and *warm weather* automatically won over my heart. The overall affect reminded me of Italy (hint, hint that’s where I ended up next!) and for this reason, almost felt familiar.
The morning of my third and final day in Budapest was spent recovering from the Hungarian ruin pub bar crawl that I went on the night prior. Part of the bar crawl was that there would be a drink (or shot) waiting for you at each pub you went to, and the night finished at a huge and incredible ruin club filled with maze like rooms with fully stocked bars (part of the room shown above). It was a night filled with so much fun which made the morning a bit of a drag. 😉
When Ben and I had taken a walking tour around Budapest, our tour guide had suggested the Lukacs Baths as one of the thermal baths and spas to visit. Because we had already been to the Széchenyi Baths on our first night in Budapest – though it was for a Sparty (yes, exactly what you think it means) not relaxation – we decided to try out another spa that was deeper in the city.
The grounds of the Lukacs Baths were simply gorgeous. Not a branch was out of place, not a chip on the brightly colored paint on any of the buildings. The aura was entirely relaxed, people were patient and kind as they waited on “the Americans,” us, to change into our swim suits and put our belongings in a locker.
We first went to the indoor rooms which reminded me of the Roman bath houses one sees when walking through Pompeii. The intricate tile details and mosaics and the relaxed steam coming from the warm and hotter pools made for the perfect atmosphere to simply just sit and be. However upon sitting down in the first pool, we realized that we may have chosen the wrong place to relax. It seems that what our inevitably sardonic tour guide had failed to mention was that the Lukacs Baths were a popular favorite of exclusively men and women aged 60+. We were in the company of mostly men in very small swim trunks, which can make the experience much less relaxing and incredibly awkward.
We switched from one pool to another – the traditional way to do it is gradually increase the pool temperatures as you go, first sitting in the freezing cold bath and gradually making your way to the hottest bath and virtually sauna. The company did not change. We were greeted with grumpy and unpleasant looks, as well as inappropriate looks, and decided it was time to go outside. The outdoor pools were large and beautiful. We sat and tanned (sunshine! a luxury coming from a drab weather winter in London) before heading out in search of lunch.
Our second touristy stop for the day was St. Stephan’s Basilica. The large domineering Roman Catholic church located in the center of the city. Adventurous as always, once a bit of convincing had taken place of course, we chose to take the 364 narrow and winding staircase up to the dome of the Basilica… instead of the fully functioning elevator.
The climb was certainly worth it. We arrived at the top and were embraced by the gorgeous 360 degree view of Budapest. We also had the entire dome to ourselves, which make the experience really special and reflective.
One of the most beautiful parts of the city, to me, was the blend of what remained from a great and antiquated society and the majestic mountains and landscape that it was built upon, and is still surrounded by. This can be seen from any angle of the city, but especially from above. I am always in awe of the detail that was put into such structures.
The day would not have been complete without snacking on ice cream in front of St. Stephan’s, on our way back to the hostel. If you haven’t yet noticed how passionate of an ice cream lover I am… just you wait. The next travel series takes place in Italy (next stop, Roma!) and I believe the motto is “a gelato a day keeps the doctor away.” 😉
The day would also not be complete without getting happily lost down a few adorable side streets. From even the simplest snaps of my camera you can get a sense of what the life is like in the heart of Hungary. It makes me want to go back ASAP!
We ended our final day in Hungary by watching the orange cream sunset go down over Buda. The end of this trip reflected the swiftly approaching end to our semester in London and the five months we had spent going on weekend getaways all over Europe. It was bittersweet and beautiful, as most wonderful things in life tend to be.
Stay Classy! xx