The Mineral BathBudapest is known for its great mineral baths. Szechenyi bath is the biggest one but I had read parts of it were closed and I really wasn't interested in a huge one. The logical one for me was the Kiraly Baths as it was a mere ten-minute slow walk from my airbnb apartment. (but trying out all the mineral baths would be a lovely goal for you know...when I come back and stay for two or three weeks...)
As you can see the building was crumbling but so are a lot of buildings in Budapest - all part of the charm. The Kiraly Baths has been around in one form or another since 1565. The last renovation took place in 1950. And trust me, it looked like it. I loved it! I paid for the bath and to have my own "cabin" (tiny lockable room that I could change in and store my clothes etc) and with seniors rate it came to 1800 Forint - $8.50 Canadian. You can't beat that! Bonus time - no kids under 14 are allowed. (they should have more places like that) It was very peaceful as it wasn't crowded. Okay it was a bit ramshackle in places but for me that was part of the charm - it was clean and cared for. The water was clean and hot and I moved between the larger round pool and a smaller one - there was a cold pool as well but I avoided that. Before I left I went outside and sat in a hot tub with some men...sounds more exciting than it was..... I must have stayed about two hours in total at the baths just relaxing....
Here is a link to the baths if you want to learn more about it. Definitely recommended if you are staying nearby unless you are a princess and demand that everything be new.
Spaced out from the warm mineral water I dreamily wandered slowly back to the flat and took a few pictures along the way. I have no clue what these buildings or statues were but I thought they were attractive!
I never did make it to the restaurant/pub above but the bank you see in the right corner of the picture was my "go to" bank. The ATM had the annoying habit of spitting out very large bills which no one wanted naturally so both times I withdrew money I had to go in there and get smaller bills. My flat was just down the road to the left of the photo.
I went back to the flat to relax for an hour or so and then it was time to get changed and head out - I had a date with some critters!
First, however, I had to go to the Keleti railway station as I wanted to pick up my rail ticket to Krakow. It was an easy direct trip on the metro and I finally found my way to a machine to pick up my ticket.
I then took the metro to Astoria and with the help of my map and Google maps on my phone I finally found my way to the cafe via this pretty little park. (yes, I got misplaced a few times)
I'm not sure what this statue is about and I don't think I want to know!!!
Then I came to a square and heard a dog barking - the silly dog was barking at the water in the fountain and I guess it wanted to drink it. So its owner held it by its collar closer so it could have a few slurps. There were quite a few of us standing around watching and having a laugh...
The CrittersI finally came to my destination...the Zoo cafe. One of my fellow travelers on the tour of Sri Lanka had told me about this cafe and said I must go. I googled it to ensure there were no charges of cruelty to animals and also read reviews on Trip Advisor. They were mostly postitive. I am a huge animal lover so would not have gone if there were any questions of the quality of care of the animals.
Basically, there are all sorts of critters - feathered, scaled and furry. When I sat down I said I did not want a snake (I hate snakes!) and they respected my wishes. (although there was a snake in an aquarium beside me but I just pretended it wasn't there...) Food is available but I just ordered a "fancy" coffee.
They bring you the animals with instructions not to let it off the table (of course) and be gentle. There is antibacterial gel on the table and you are instructed to use it in between animals if you touch them. They put this chameleon right on my hand. At first I was thinking "where's my pretty furry little rodent?" and the feel of its claws on my skin was for lack of a better word, creepy let alone when it kept its tail wrapped around my hand. I pretty much sat with my arm out like in the picture above the whole time. In the end I became quite fond of it but it was still a relief to say "adios" as I was terrified it would fall off somehow.
My next coffee "date" was a bearded dragon. It pretty much sat in the same spot and I was okay with that.
Next up... a guinea pig...I love guinea pigs. (Fun fact: I once had a guinea pig named Jennifer...) I did not touch it and let it do its own thing as I didn't want to cause undue stress as guinea pigs aren't exactly laid back. They gave me carrots to feed it and it loved that. I didn't order food but apparently, they do not give you the animals while you are eating as they don't want them being fed human food like pastries.
And lastly the rabbit...once again I didn't touch it. I just sipped coffee, wrote in my journal and let it hang out with its back to me for a while. Guess it wasn't imprewithwitih me as its date!
This was almost like speed dating only with animals. (if I had to choose a second date t's a toss-up between the chameleon and the guinea pig) Seriously, I was apprehensive but came away feeling that the animals were well cared for. Of course that was my perspective as everything is in life. We all certainly do have an opinion on things - anyone who visits Facebook knows that!
As this was a "chill out" day rather than look around for a place to eat I got on the metro back to my "hood" and went to the same neighbourhood pub I had gone to my very first evening there.
Honestly, I can't remember what kind of meat this was (didn't write it down in my journal!) but it was good - and spicy potatoes.
That was day three in Budapest!!