Night Location: Budapest, Hungary
Song of the Day: Hot N Cold - Katy Perry
Mumisode of the Day: Getting trapped in the whirlpool whilst in the Budapest thermal baths and shouting, "I can't stop! I can't stop!"
The first night in Budapest, due to the ear problem on the plane and the arctic conditions in Bellagio, Gemma vomited the entire night. As a result of this, she was in no state for sight-seeing and so Amber stayed home to look after her while Mum, Dad and David explored the city. Gemma slept all day, Amber slept half the day beside her, and read her book beside her for the other half and forced Gemma to take sips of ginger ale and eat a pretzel when she opened her eyes.
The three adventurers returned after an impressive day visiting the Jewish synagogue on the street where we are staying as well as the parliament building, modelled on Westminster. They had seen all the flags with the holes ripped in the centre marking the revolution and lots of monuments along the river.
The next day, with Gemma somewhat recovered, we all set off for the National Museum of Budapest where we were able to walk through the history of the country from the caveman to 1990. A fascinating morning.
From here we caught the Metro downtown where we stopped at the 'Cafe de Paris' for drinks and refreshments. David at last got to try the goulash, and the drinks here were fantastic. We then headed toward the river where we walked across the stony waters of the Danube on the famous Chain Bridge that had been completely rebuilt after WWII. The castle was high above us, but sadly the funicular was broken, and none of us felt like the hike to the top, nor the overcrowded replacement buses. Instead we set off for the thermal baths, Budapest's star attraction.
The bath complex itself is a fantastic sight. It is very majestic, built in mustard yellow stone with lots of fancy windows and terraces. Amber and David figured out what to purchase and we were all handed 'watches' that were the entrance passes into the change rooms and the baths. We weren't really sure where to go, so Amber wandered around the hallway waving her watch in front of various doorways until David returned to the desk to ask for directions.
We then entered the complex and found our change room. The girl cabin that we had hired, when opened, was full of someone's clothing and belongings. After getting a new cabin, we changed into our swimmers and headed for the first pool, fantastic at 38 degrees.
There were 17 pools in total, all different temperatures, combined with saunas ranging from 40 to 70 degrees. Our favourite was the 45-50 degree sauna, so steamy you couldn't see anyone else in the room with you at first and it was somewhat difficult to breathe. It did, however, help Gemma's ears to start to clear.
The highlight of the bath experience was the outdoor section. Massive pools in a very formal pattern are outside, filled with 34-38 degree water complete with fountains, spas and whirlpools. Crossing the 6 degree courtyard in swimmers with bare feet was fairly chilly, but it made getting into the steaming water even more pleasant. There is something very magical about swimming with your face in the cold, your body in the warm, the sky close and grey above you and steam rising all around.
While entering what appeared to be a nice spiral section, the bubbles stopped, and all of a sudden it became a whirlpool jet, much to Mum's horror. The rest of us loved it, and we set off floating around in the whirling water. Amber led the charge, going really fast and overtaking everyone, with Gemma and Mum in tow. After a few revolutions, we decided to get out. Dad, who had escaped earlier, provided an anchoring spot. Amber grabbed his hand, Gemma grabbed Amber's swimmers, and we were pulled out. Mum kept on sailing past. It was at this point that, looking over the wall, we could see her head bobbing up and down, her long arms and hands out of the water, and her cheeks puffed, and we could hear her shouting, "I can't get out! I can't get out!" David almost drowned from laughter and Gemma and Amber encouraged Dad to let her go round again.
Dad took the challenge, and at first offered Mum his hand as she came past, then withdrew it at the last minute and off she set on another round. David turned red, lost his breath and almost cried. It was incredibly funny. Even funnier we have decided than the Limoncello incident.
After another hour exploring other pools, we dried off and returned home on the Metro. The Metro 1 here is the second oldest in Europe, and is heritage listed. The walls are all tiled and the carriages are quite old. A little tune is played when you are approaching the station and the doors close quite suddenly with a red light flashing.
David cooked a great red Thai curry for dinner and there was another pack: this time, no Wizz Air. On the train to Prague tomorrow.