WATER . . . THE INTERNATIONAL HEALER
From Santa Barbara to Budapest Healing Waters are a Revered Therapy
Story and Photos by Bonnie Carroll
The knowledge that therapy pools and thermal baths offer healing properties has been well known for centuries in places like Budapest Hungary, where the spa baths are renowned and attract people from around the world, including this health loving travel writer, who has spent many hours in a therapy pool at Cottage Hospital Rehabilitation in Santa Barbara as a recovery program from foot surgery.
The building that houses these warm and wonderful waters is exquisite, and look more like a palace or temple. They usually feature countless numbers of pools with varying temperatures of heat, and some have strong sulfur scents. The large outdoor pools are an amazing collection of international travelers and devoted locals who enjoy playing chess or just reveling in the waters. Many come for the day taking a break for lunch and beverages, or just enjoy sun bathing in a lounge next to the pool.
My Budapest bath experience was at the beautiful Szecheny Thermal Baths, which even the communists could not shut down due to the people's devotion to this time tested health ritual. The architecture of these buildings is fascinating, and offers styles of several ancient styles. The waiting room and dressing rooms are historic in design and quite comfortable, with beautiful wall and ceiling art and sculpture throughout. The cost of a day pass to the Szecheny Thermal Baths is around 27 euro, with private a dressing room.
People of all ages can be seen enjoying these healing waters, and although I was skeptical about anyone spending the day basking in warm healing water, I now realize I would have stayed there all day if time allowed. It was a pleasure to watch people from around the world blissing out in the huge outdoor pool. Bathers must bring their own bathing suit, towel and toiletries with them, and the change closets are locked, providing a safe place to leave your clothes, although I would not recommend bringing large sums of money or valuable jewelry with you to the spa.
The Szecheny Thermal Baths can easily be reached by taxi, bus or the Budapest metro. The city of Budapest also offers a travel card that can be purchased in advance which offers special discounts to visitors, and the hop on hop off bus is another option. Szecheny is located on the Pest side of the Danube, just a short distance from the Four Seasons Gresham Palace near the Chain Bridge.
For information visit: www.SzechenyBaths.com.