The Gellert Baths, Group Changing Rooms and a Spanish Speaking Hungarian

Yesterday, Evan and I checked off item #1 on our list by going to the Gellert Baths. I actually went during the summer, but the main pool was under construction and it was really crowded. I felt like it was a waste of my money. Thankfully, when Evan and I made it there yesterday, I had a very different experience.

We got to the baths at about 5:30, and they’re only open until 7. So when we bought tickets, they were discounted and cost about half as much as I spent last time I went. We got our check-in cards and our receipt, and we went to find the changing rooms. I went to follow the sign that said women — go figure, right? But they directed me away from there and to the same changing room as Evan. I kept worrying that I would be turned away or yelled at, but as we walked through the long tiled hallways that make you feel like you’re entering an undersea palace, complete with portals looking in on the main pool, nobody seemed bothered that I was there.

When we reached the changing room, we were greeted with a Buenos Dias, not something you’d usually hear in Hungary. I didn’t really hear it at first, since the tiled room had quite an echo and I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but Evan did, and he started speaking with the guy in Spanish. He showed us to our changing room — apparently we got a little room for the two of us to change and store our stuff in as opposed to the lockers in crowded locker rooms we were always given at Szechenyi baths and that I got the first time at Gellert.

Once we changed, we went off to find the pool. Cybelle and I had a hard time trying to find our way around last time, especially because of all the construction going on, but this time it was easier. Still confusing, but it didn’t seem to take as long. We went into the smaller bath that sits at the end of the effervescent pool, and relaxed in its warm water for a bit.

We dipped our toes in the effervescent pool, too, but we decided it was a bit too cold to do so early into our stay, so we went to the thermal bath room — a different one than I was in before, and relaxed in the 36-degree-Celsius and 38-degree-Celsius pools, which was very relaxing. It was actually a different room than I had been in over the summer, though it was very similar. The one over the summer, though, was decorated differently. There’s supposed to be a men’s side and a women’s side, but I suppose with the construction everyone just goes together.

After spending a good amount of time in the warm pools, under the green tiled roof, we went back to the effervescent pool to try it out, and we were glad we did. Once we got over the initial shock of it being cool (it really wasn’t cold, just more like a normal swimming pool), we only made it one lap before the lifeguard/attendant told us we had to get out because the baths were closing. But before we got out, they did turn on the bubblers, which offered a neat effect. And the pool itself is very majestic-looking, under a large skylight and in a two-story room with balconies and columns.

The attendant yelled at us again, since we made a quick stop in the first pool we went into to warm up before changing, and we went back to the changing room to find our clothes. We met our Spanish-speaking friend again, who didn’t quite understand everything Evan was asking him, and we chatted a bit about where we were from. He was Hungarian — I don’t know where his passion for Spanish came from, but he was also wearing an Espana lanyard around his neck. And we told him we were American, to which he asked, “North or south?” Then asked if we were from Canada. And then maybe Mexico before we cleared it up that we were from the U.S.

We could have spent a bit more time there, but the time we did have was relaxing and fun, and we’re happy to check one more must-do off our list.

We didn’t bring a camera, but Evan took a few cell phone shots, so hopefully I can put those up later.

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