Szechenyi Furdo Baths

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Into the old building you go, taking in the age of the place, the large white molded archways stretching from one giant Roman column to another, the expansive white tiled floors, many cracked and stained with age. You admire the wealth of empty space above and around you. There is a warm, comfortable steam in the air. Voices carry like at any public pool, but here they are mixed with the sounds of gushing and gurgling bath water.

The first bath is directly ahead. You notice mostly grey heads spotting the perimeter as you dip in your foot. It’ hot, but you want hotter.

You find the building to be an endless corridor of room after room. Through one archway after another, you find bath after bath and your hunt for the hottest reminds you of the long search through the Vatican for the Sistine Chapel.

Finally having tested them all you take a short dip in each one. Some of them bubble, some have waterfalls, some sit still like a pond and others spin as a whirlpool. In the water, you smell the public sweat in the air and taste it as the bath sneaks past your lips. Wanting not to swallow, you spit the water back out and to be sure, you spit again, this time saliva, while trying not to be seen.

Next you journey into the saunas, the hottest one first. The light is low, the heat if blistering. Sweat pours down your face and you hunch towards your knees, seeking a breath that won’t burn your throat. You look up at the people who were there before you arrived. They are mostly older men, half dead from the heat. The rest are young guys with big muscles torturing themselves to burn off bear guts. You look through the shaved hair at their beat red scalps. A group of teens file in giggling and looking through the heat for a seat and you use this commotion as a time to escape.

2 Thoughts on “Szechenyi Furdo Baths”

  1. UT Says:

    Sounds fantastic. How long were you there. The descriptions are tremendous. I can see, smell and taste what you’re describing.UT

  2. Marie Wilson Says:

    Hi John,
    I am curious about the baths(in Budapest)…is this their only form of bathing/hygiene? I know that some European countries have different ideas about hygiene. Or is it a form of relaxation.

    Is Desiree still with you? I think love is in the air.

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