After our crazy, long day of walking yesterday we woke up very achey this morning! After managing to tick off a lot of the main tourist attractions, we decided to have a more relaxing day today. First stop was a morning swim at the biggest and most famous thermal bath in Budapest! The Széchenyi bath is one of the largest spa complexes in Europe and the first thermal bath in Pest. Made up of a collection of indoor and outdoor pools, you can relax in the warm water (think hot bath!) or swim lengths in the larger pool. There’s a small lazy river, an indoor plunge pool and a couple of saunas too. It was nice to sit down and relax for a bit but it was so hot outside that a hot bath just felt wrong!!
After a couple of hours at the baths, we walked back down towards our hostel via City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle, Hunedoara Castle and Andrássy Street, a famous boulevard lined with shops, bars, restaurants, theatres, boutiques and expensive townhouses.
We also passed through Heroes’ Square on the way home. The largest square in Budapest, the square was created in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary. The Millennium Monument in the middle of the square was erected to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars.
Afterwards, we headed straight back to the hostel for a nap as we had both had a bit too much sun at the baths… We decided to check out Budapest’s nightlife in the evening and we were not disappointed! We walked up and down Kazinczy Street, a street famous for having a large number of Kert bars. The Kert bars, or ruin bars, are bars that have been created from run down buildings, often with outdoor courtyard areas inside the bar. On our way to one of the bars, we accidentally stumbled across an alleyway called ‘Karavan’ which was a small strip of seating outdoors, surrounded by food trucks selling a range of different dishes. We stopped off for a beer, and Gary tried the Hungarian speciality of Goulash for the first time – served in a hollowed out loaf of bread!
The next stop was Szimplakert – Budapest’s most famous Kert bar and the third best bar in the world! It was definitely the best bar either of us had ever been to. It’s a collection of indoor and outdoor bars, graffitied staircases, themed rooms, mismatched furniture, decorated ceilings, fairy-lights, nooks and crannies, shisha bars with a huge central courtyard. The beers in Budapest are cheap too – we were paying around £1 for 330ml.
We visited another three Kert bars throughout the evening, and although they were all great bars, they didn’t compare to the Szimplakert bar – we probably shouldn’t have gone there first!!
To end our day, we walked home through the Jewish Quarter and stopped to admire the Synagogue. It’s the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It looked especially beautiful at night time, with the spotlights accentuating the intricate details that made up each wall and window. Gary was particularly impressed!
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