Bathing With A Couple Hundred People In Budapest

Jan 4, 2018

This time of year, the Danube River is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit as it flows through Hungary. But right next to the Danube, in Budapest, are some much warmer waters that get well above 100 degrees.

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley recently took a microphone inside one of the old Ottoman baths in Budapest to let us hear the place where people have been soaking and socializing for centuries.

The Rudas Baths feature multiple thermal pools, a restaurant, and people of all ages. There are different days for men and women, as well as co-ed bathing at certain times.

Inside, there’s a pool in the center with waters around 44 C (111 F). Even hotter pools are in the corners of the room. There’s also a steam room where Brumley says he can only last about three minutes.

“It’s a series of steaming, dipping, marinating,” he said. “You need to remember to drink a lot of water.”

The ceiling holds small colored windows that look like stars in the sky, and the room features waterfalls, columns and archways.

“And the dress attire here is either nothing at all, or they hand you this little white apron as you head in the door,” Brumley said. (Swimwear is also acceptable. Brumley chose big Hawaiian shorts for this visit.)

And you’ll hear a dull roar of voices bouncing off the cavernous interior.

“It’s a meeting point,” Brumley said. “It’s something that’s been happening from generation to generation. It’s not something you’d just do for an hour. Typically you’d do it for half a day.”

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"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunes Google Play or Stitcher.