the air down there


Every had the feeling that your Speedos make you feel completely over dressed?

A chill was in the air over Budapest yesterday, so I took to the thermal waters at Rudas Fürdő. And it was the men only day too! Upon entry I took to my little changing cabin and was given a small piece of cloth with straps to tie up my collectables that I took with me into the bath. How good of them!

I quickly got into my Speedos and shorts, my flip-flops (or thongs are we call them in Aus) and my bit of cotton and made for the bath. I quickly did a 180 back to the cabin, after realising in my naïveté that the cloth in my had was meant to be strap around my waist, with the cloth being a small modesty covering for the front.

Now y’all know I can sauna it up with the best of them. But when in Rome, I can only be as much Italian as I can muster. And my arse ain’t hanging out for public exhibition, no matter how much other sagging flesh is on display. So I quickly lost the shorts, but kept the Speedos securely fastened.

Now I am sure that a lot of you out there take on a slight prepubescent giggle with the sheer mentions of the words sauna, steam room and public baths. And that a men only establishment might conjure up images of Another Country on roid rage. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING could be further from the truth. Just think about taking a long hot soak with your Dad, your Grandfather, your great uncle Jimmy, and their drinking buddies Donald, Malcolm and Earnest. Chuck ’em all in an octagonal pool, and listen to them solve the problems of the world, wearing nothing more than the suits they were born in, just with a hell of a lot more flesh and waistline.

But I persevered, and “praise be” that I did. These baths were constructed in 1566, and have recently been updated. But the ancient charm of the stone walls dominates the display. The steam room and saunas are all modernised, and have showers, or more hysterically fun, plunge buckets that you can fill with water and pull a rope to drench yourself with the contents. Amen to that! The separate temperature pools are fantastic, all surrounding the stunning octagonal pool with it’s massive stone arches.

Lordy, I felt cleansed!


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