Day Twelve: The Baths

We leave Hostel Relax three hours earlier than the day before and head straight for the baths.

The underground changing rooms are a teeming, squirming mass of humanity. We deposit our things in one of the rows upon row of lockers, linked by slippery walkways, and push our way up the stairs. Summoning up our courage, we step outside into the sunlight.

The baths greet us. They are…resplendent.

And enormous. Vast, even. Statues litter the pools, spouting water over the bathers. Hundreds of people are scattered about the place, yet they pools don’t feel cramped or overly busy.

It is 36 degrees outside, but we start in the hot pool by accident. We brave it out for a few minutes, then admit we have made a terrible miscake and scuttle back out, balls a-flapping.

Avoiding the swimming pool, for we have no swimming caps (?!), we try the cooler pool. It is bliss.

We are…at last…relaxed. We read for a while and sunbathe, at most times partly submerged in the water.

Whenever the need for action tugs on our loins, we head to the Spinning Jenny. Here we are propelled in a circle by great jets of water. Time and time again, we are battered against the side of the pool, crashing into fellow humans and plunging underwater, to twirl helplessly until we reach the surface.

During one particularly dizzying spin, I can’t help but think the paralympic swimming events would be much more entertaining with the addition of underwater jets. I make a mental note never to admit this to other humans. Rule five: deny everything.

When the Jenny ceases to spin, the jacuzzi starts. It is Heaven.

Searing saunas, boiling steam rooms and freezing plunge pools make up the afternoon. Though neither of us want to, the rules dictate the use of the cold plunge. Rule nine: be strong. We surge into the icy water and take our submerged seats… It is awful. Truly awful.

Fleeing back into the warmth, we continue relaxing and spinning in the Jenny. We even find beer! It is expensive, at £1.50 a pint, but we shoulder the financial burden…

Eventually, hunger makes us leave. We have, after all, been bathing for six hours.

We head into town for our dinner beers and spot some fliers. The first is for a night tour of Budapest, by scooter.

Rule one: no god damn motorbikes.

The second flier is for the ‘Best Rock Bar in Budapest’. It is situated in the Octogon square. We finish our beers and leave immediately…for Rocktogton.

Sadly, the best rock bar in Budapest is deserted. They do, however, have Nine Inch Nails Live playing on a TV screen. Beer is £1 a pint, so we drink as many as we can. Perhaps a hundred.

Suddenly, mid-revelry, we notice the time. There is none left. With haste, we make for the last train ‘home’. By the time we arrive, we are certain of one thing and one thing only. We need to leave Hostel Relax.

There is one room available in Budapest. Is is a double room in an apartment. We take it.

Needs must. Rule two: never look back.

About the Author
Ed Gamester is a silly man who lives in the United Kingdom. He is the harbinger of Ghost Squad, singer of Gay Bum and author of A Rum Run Awry. He fights, kills and dies for TV and films, and gallivants around the place wrestling, drinking and lifting things for glory and profit. Where Ed treads, there stamp the boots of the Guild. Ed does not wear glasses, but feels this photograph makes him look more intelligent and artistically talented than he is. Feel free to contact him: he is disappointingly affable.

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