How better to start a day in the Hungarian capital than with a thermal bath in the hot springs that it sits on? I got up early extra to spend another 2 hours lazing around in the 36 to 39 degree Celsius water, and let me tell you, it is so. worth. it. I decided to go to the Gellert bath, which is one of the better-known baths and was on my way into the city, and man, you have the impression of swimming in an aristocratic mansion or so, what with the columns surrounding the pool and the mosaics of the hot-water tubs. Another great thing about coming early in the morning ist that the baths are completely free of tourists, and instead, you can do the best people-watching of old Hungarian grannies plunging into the water, careful to keep their hairdoes dry, and dignified retirees discussing world matters over at the bubbly end.
From there, I took another walking tour of the city, which ended up visiting most of the same places I had seen the days before, but offering interesting insights in Hungarian history (they were occupied so often I lost track), technology (they are super proud of many many inventions) and culture. In the afternoon, having foregone the chance of visiting the parliament because apparently you have to be there at 8 am sharp to get tickets, I decided to visit the market hall instead and was rewarded with another astonishing view of produce, meat and cheese stands without end, while the upper levels have an overwhelming assortiment of souvenirs, especially table-cloths and the like which are obviously all hand-made by Hungarians. Yeah... And then was already the night train to catch (I was so nervous I'd miss it with unexpected traffic on the streets of Budapest and a nightmarish downpour) and onward the journey went. I'll be back, Budapest! I promise!