Thursday, September 18, 2008

Budapest 'Must-do' - 14 September 2008

There are two things that the visitor to Budapest must do: Take the waters and take the cake. There is an abundance of choice for the first option as there are a number of thermal baths in and around the city. Szechenyi bathsWe finally settled on Szechenyi as it was reputedly the smartest and cleanest as well as the largest such spa in Europe. There was one other factor, the weather forecast: All week we had been threatened with rain for our last day and the Szechenyi baths were accessible by the M1 Metro line almost door to door, thus minimising our exposure to the rain. As it happened, although the temperature plunged to 15C, the rain never came so we could fully enjoy the outdoor as well as the indoor pools. We counted 15 pools, all of which we tried except the very coldest, an 18C plunge pool. There was a wide range of temperatures available, up to 40C as well as steam and dry-heat sauna rooms that ranged from 40C up to 75C (we lasted 5 minutes!).

Szechenyi bathsThe whole complex is very bright and clean and the helpful staff made it easy to understand the in-house processes from the walk through changing rooms to the lockers and the refund you get if you leave within 3 hours of your arrival.

Gerbeaud's by nightTaking the metro all the way back to the centre of town deposited us very neatly at Gerbeaud's; an institution in Budapest since 1858. Naturally one pays over the odds for their coffee and cake but it is one of those things one has to do. We had some local currency left so attempted to settle our bill with 1/3 cash and 2/3 credit card but they would not oblige and were quite truculent about it; they will not survive another 150 years with poor customer service!

1 comment:

Craig said...

Poor service? No splitting bills on credit cards?

I used to have trouble paying for things by card in Britain! Since we've been married we've used a cash budgeting system, but Europe forced us to.

I'm really surprised the British economy survives on poor quality service and difficult payment schemes. How is it still a powerful economy? Madness.