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The thermal power of Budapest. Route for their Real Spas

HILL OF BUDA AND REAL PALACE

With the time pressing due to the dense program established, we take the bus 86 that brings us to Adam Clark's Square, where it is the Cero Kilómetre next to the Bridge of the Chains. It was the first one joining Buda and Pest, in 1849, and the most beautiful in the total of nine that communicate the two parts of the city. It was built by engineer Adam Clark and, according what it is said, he commit suicide when, finisihing the work, he realize that he had forgotten the tongue of the lions that guard the entrance of the bridge from the Buda side.

We take the funicular and we ascend to the Hill of Buda, where is the Real Palace that today harbors numerous museums, as that of the History of Budapest and the Hungarian National Gallery. Here is the true heart of Buda. Old buildings, witness of a glorious past, historical events that moved Europe and one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Budapest.

We go through the District of the Castle declared Patrimony of Humanity by the UNESCO and one of the most romantic and beautiful places in Budapest. It is an ancestral urban nucleus that still preserving medieval memories and at the same time the main group of monuments of the country.

We feel that we are backing to the past, to a different world, calmed, in which the entrance halls of the houses hide Roman stones and sculpted niches of the noble time. Under this district there is a labyrinth of grottos, of size enough to settle inside over 20.000 german soldiers during World War II.

The most crowded place is the Square of the Sacred Trinidad, where is located one of the most characteristic buildings of Budapest, the Matías Church is more than 700 years old, where the citizens from Budapest excommunicated the Pope Inocencio VIII, in 1302.

Here took place the crowning of Francisco José and Sissi, and the hungarian musician Franz Liszt performed for the first time his Mass of the Crowning, although could not direct it by himself because he arrived at the church without invitation. We imagine that splendid princely ceremony and even the anger of Liszt... Here everything is possible

Surprisingly for the first time we find a church that doesn't take saint's name but of ruler: the king Matías Corvino that marry twice in this church. The temple of gothic tower, together with the Bastion of Fishermen, with its white stones, located behind the church, they constitute a harmonic group and is the aim of pictures and postcards. We all, the whole group of Europe and the Director of the National Office of Hungarian Tourism in Spain, pose with the backdrop of one of the most beautiful views of Pest and the Danube.

We enter in one yard of the Castle where is located the beautiful Source of Matías representing a hunt allegory. Our host that really enjoys so much or more than the whole group in this Route, comments that according to the tradition, who throws a currency in its water, has the guarantee to return to Budapest. Without thinking twice, we joint our hands and we fulfill that old habit. Each one of us is carrying out with this trip an authentic dream. why not to repeat it?.

Fisher's Place

 

The picturesque streets that form the District of the Castle are built with medieval foundations and almost closed to the traffic. It is a perfect place to walk contemplating its beautiful architecture and art samples or to make an stop in some of the good restaurants, exquisite pastries, as Ruszwurm of 1827 and pleasant terraces.

Our host takes us to the House of the Hungarian Wines or Magyar Borok Háza. A typical place for taste up to 70 delicious wines of the country. They are in the habit to show documentaries and maps of the producing regions, the origins and methods of their production. The Belgian friend recognized that he was already anxious to make one tasting of the reputed national wines, after so many hours among spas and thermal baths. He received a strong applause.

Officially there is up to 22 wine-growing regions in Hungary, being in the northern part where are produced the best and more famous wines of the country, due to the volcanic soils: the Tokaj, with many varieties. This wine worldwide famous, of white color, with strong taste of fruit and sugared, it has deserved the honour to appear in the letter of the national hymn of the country.

We go through the District of the Castle observing the diversity of styles of buildings, some very narrow and others elegant baroque and rococo palaces that come from the period which follows that of the Turks. Among them, the international and luxurious Hilton Hotel, built more than 25 years ago. We enter to know its yard where one can see the cloister of a medieval convent, as well as the ruins of a church. In summer are the ideal stage to play dramatic works.

We continue with our program and we leave the District of the Castle to descend toward the bank of the Danube and to visit the facilities of the Rudas Spa, next to the Mount Gerard (Gellérthegy).

RUDAS BATHS

 

The center of the spa, the current Turkish baths, was created in the XV century, during the Turkish domain. Under the dome of about 10 meters, sustained by eight columns, there is a octogonal pool. Around we see a corridor of vault of half canyon.

At the moment, the facility of steam bath can only by be used men. This is very important and although this is pointed out in the tourist pamphlets, it sometimes generates certain confusion.

Is a turkish bath only for MEN?, the Rumanian colleague asks. The question doesn't astonish the Director of the National Office of Tourism of Hungary in Spain. In fact, the section of thermal baths is only for men; the other sections (bathtubs, pools) they are also for women.

They receive us very kindly and in addition, we are lucky: the pool of thermal baths is not being used at this hour. This allows us to admire their spectacularity and design. The atmosphere of semi-dakness reminds me, the Turkish hammans. The pool built in 1896, works as therapeutic pool with sauna from the year 1918. It has 6 thermal pools (16 º - 42º) and another pool, to about 29 º.

We go through the facilities of the first floor where is a very well equipment department of physiotherapy (hospital during the day time). As in all the therapeutic spas, the radio-active thermal water has ions of sulfate and chloride, hidrocarbonato of potassium and magnesium. We observe that here the content in fluorine is considerable.

This Turkish patrimony, lyke the previous ones, it is very valuable not only for their conservation condition but to be accessible their use for medical prescription.

Gellért Hotel in Budapest

 

In the Gellért Spa everything is ready for the reception and the full dress dinner, colophon to the Conference of Tourism and the opening of the Year of the Health. The Group of European journalists agree to define the stay in the Gellért Baths as the best finishing flourist for the Thermal Route, through the Real Spas of Budapest.

Before, we suggest to climb to the high of the Gellért Hill to whose feet is the celebrated spa, where is the Citadel. From the border of the walls and among miradors we got an spectacular perspective of Buda and Pest hugged by the Danube . It is the farewell to a day that turned out to be an authentic one "revival" of thermal emotions.

A stay in the emblemátic Gellért built is the most wanted experience for any termalist. It is to enter in the history of the culture of the baths of the Hungary, of their ancestral past and of the most advanced future.

When going through these silent and noble corridors of the Hotel Gellért, came to my mind the history of the famous Congress of 1937. At the request of the Budapest Spa Asociation, was organized the first International Congress of Baths. In that event was founded the International Association of Spas, with permanent headquarters in Budapest. Gellért was then the setting. Today, fifty years later, it continues being the suitable setting to joint the science with the society of the well-being.

Located in the Buda side of the Bridge of the Freedom, the noble building was constructed in 1918. The monumental architecture of the Spa and Therapeutic Hotel San Gellért, as it was known in the chronicles of the time, it is classic in their proportions, but Hungarian in their details and decorated with oriental features. Impressive for the visitor that arrives for the first time to this emblemátic building, the most beautiful almost the real baths.

I propose to our friends from Poland and Italy an lightning escape. I want to discover the artistic effect of the spa in the bank of the Danube. We take the tram number 2 that makes this route and we check that that optic effect is owed to the wonderful sculptures, ceramic mosaics and stained glasses.

We find this same effect in the inside spaces. We are fascinated with the monumentality of its Roman columns in the inside pools, but what surprise us most is the artistic design of enormous dimensions in the pool of artificial waves, outdoors.

Precisely, on the source of "wonderful effects" of the Gellért Spa, annotations already exist from the XV century. This spa that was the biggest and with the warmest waters in all the spas of Buda, it was called by the Turks "Purgatory." The denomination of "Baths of the Virgins" it also comes from the Turks, and it is due to the healing effects of the thermal water.

Guellert Spa

 

In the therapeutic spa we find all the facilities (hydrotherapy, balneotherapy, mecanotherapy and electrotherapy) and for the first time, the dentistry medical attention of high level. A complete phisiotherapéutic department (hospital in day time) with section of Inhalations and also an excellent service of beauty treatments. 

I still have time to relax before the dinner with a bubbles bath, the pleasure of the gods... besides, swim some lengths in the inside pool of Greek columns, slowly, while I were feeling in my skin the softness of the magic waters of the Gellért. Other members of the group they enjoy in the pool of waves. The Rumanian and the Russian friends choose, after the bath , to rest in the feminine and naturist terrace, catching the last sunbeams. 

The guests of the Gellért Hotel use regularly these services of the spa. The emblemátic hotel has a wide park, 5.950 square meters, preserving this way the environment with a space of rest and health for its visitors. 

In the reception previous to the dinner, authorities and guests exchange knowledge and we congratulate the organizers. Budapest was presenting all its "glamour" as capital of real springs of the new Europe. 

The Elegance's dinner in the Spa of Gellért, in the center of Budapest, was a brilliant ceremony with applauses and gratitudes. I shared table and emotions with the Italian colleague and the Director of the National Office of Tourism of Hungary in Spain. Among sculptures and roman columns, It looked like as If I were "submerged" in the old Rome, while the orchestra and the buffet, both remembered that it was a dream what was living in the middle of XXI century. The night was short.


 
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