Europe’s Coolest Baths: Széchenyi Baths, Budapest

Europe’s Coolest Baths: Széchenyi Baths, Budapest

If you are in Budapest, a trip to the Széchenyi Baths is an absolute must.

Built in 1913, the baths are the biggest of their kind in Europe with 15 indoor pools and three outdoor pools with varying temperatures, and 10 therapeutic saunas/steam baths.

The water to the baths is supplied by two thermal springs with temperatures at 74 °C and 77 °C. The water includes a mix of calcium, sulphate, magnesium, bicarbonate among other elements. Which means, the baths are as medicinal as they can get.

Named after the Hungarian minister Count István Széchenyi de Sárvár-Felsővidék, the entire complex is housed in an old neo-baroque styled exquisite palace.

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Back then, Hungary was known (it still is) as the country of baths – the very first baths were built by – surprise surprise! – Roman settlers. Later Turkish settlers added to the ‘pool’ in the 16th century.

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Courtesy: Marukh Budhraja
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Courtesy: Marukh Budhraja

Today, the  baths also  host Budapest’s finest ‘Sparties’.

Entrance to the baths cost around ‎€ 15 approximately with access to lockers and shower rooms.

Once inside, you can visit any pool or any steam bath.

Our trip to the baths was like a visit to an amusement park. The 20-something’s we were suddenly found ourselves frolicking around from one pool to another – we also joined a limbo that consisted of both the old and the young.

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Best part of the trip. (Courtesy: Marukh Budhraja)

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I think it was by far the best part of our one and a half days in Budapest.

 

 

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Cairo’s Camels

Cairo’s Camels

Cairo’s Camels

The Pyramids of Giza at Cairo, one of the seven wonders of the world, draw millions of tourists each year.

A major part of that attraction are the Bactrian camels that wander around, heads held high while their owners try courting curious travelers.

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Camels at the Pyramids at Giza sport the most colourful saddles.
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A camel waits outside the Great Pyramid.
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A little boy waiting for passengers outside the pyramids.
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A camel owner seen in the complex.
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A faithful camel stands next to his master who rests under a makeshift shelter while a mule and his owner watch on.
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Camels aren’t the only mode of transport; the pyramids are home to the occasional horses too.

Also read: The Nubian on the Nile 

Italy through Snapchat

Italy through Snapchat

Italy, in all its glory, is full of its rich culture and history.  But as Esther and I came to see, it was also a great canvas for some Snapchat art. 

Here is some of our best and worst CRASS, HORRIBLE art on art.  


 

We were at the Galleria dell’Academia in Florence, home to Michelangelo’s David.

What a HUNK!

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Very unabashed.

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Then at Piazza della Signoria

 

The Uffizi Gallery 

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The Forum in Rome

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Conclusion: Two history students. Too very tired.
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The mountain dog

The mountain dog

Bella

My mum’s side of the family comes from the great Himalayas. Pauri Garhwal to be specific. The Chowfins, after whom the village ‘Cheenakhet’ has been named (field of the Chinaman–literally), came to be after their Chinese ancestors migrated to Pauri and settled there in the 1800s.

And to this day the Chowfins live there. And so do their dogs.

Locally known as Bhutia and argued by many as Tibetan mastiffs, I am still not clear on what to really call them. But each family in Pauri has at least one of these great beasts.

Growing up they have been a special part of my summer holidays, a new member added each time I would go there; few others subtracted after leopards took them away.

Interestingly they have always been named after booze or beverage: there was Soda, Limca, Tosca, Fenny, Brandy…you get the gist.

Anyway, say hi to Bella.

Bella, Fenny and Bouncer playing. Fenny is their ma.
Bella, Fenny and Bouncer playing. Fenny is their ma.

The Man Who Can’t Be Moved

The Man Who Can’t Be Moved
The Man Who Can't Be Moved
The Man Who Can’t Be Moved

Chandni Chowk is a mess of winding lanes. Cows, humans, hens, rickshaws, cars – all meander through all day long. The place is literally known for its chaos. I had only a few seconds to click this man after I spotted him. I jumped in the middle of the road and took a literal split-second shot. It’s funny how he didn’t choose to sleep on the sofa.

The Nubian on the Nile

Back from good old 2012. Had many photos in this series, one of which one a small prize. So i decided to do a photo story on this Egyptian, the Nubian salesman…

As you go ‘up’ the Nile (this is a unique river as it flows upwards – south to north) from Aswan to Luxor, there is a place called Esna where the water level suddenly drops. A ‘lock’ or an enclosure made on the river enables any vessel to sail without toppling – once a ‘ship’ is in the narrow lock, the water level in the lock is the same level as it was when the boat entered the enclosure, and then is slowly decreased so that it comes to level with the water on the other side (i.e. the side towards Luxor). Finally the vessel is released. This cumbersome process can take hours at times as vessels after vessels line up…

The Lock at Esna

Enter the mobile salesmen. The Nubians.

As our boat The Nile Festival (this vessel sadly caught fire last year – thankfully no one on board was injured) was entering the lock, we noticed dozens of ropes being lassoed onto our boats. Through the windows of our rooms, we could see ‘locals’ dressed in kaftans. However they didn’t seem to be your ordinary Egyptian.

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The boat-salesmen seemed to herald our way into the lock.

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The Nubians, as I later learnt, are from Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. These particular ones were from the little village nearby. They were ‘salesmen’, not unlike the jovial (sometimes irritating and persistent) ones we here in India come across. Each one was accompanied with another who was in charge of rowing. Once our boat proceeded into the lock, they didn’t let go. Instead they followed us, trying very hard to sell their goods, throwing them up onto the deck, three floors up and managing to catch cash and unsold goods that were thrown from above – all without losing any to the Nile.

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They had anchored themselves firmly to our boat

I saw this particular one through the window of my room. His sallow skin, cheeks sunken in, teeth stained with tobacco and eyes pleading with the tourists on the deck to buy his products. Though at first I was put off with the constant yells of “Senorita Senorita” in his ‘shrewd’, harsh voice, it was when I decided to really look at him that he struck me as pained, even scarred.

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Negotiations

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This was the photo that won me a prize 😀

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He was flinging things up at the deck
He was flinging things up at the deck

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When the lock opened to let us in, he too like many of his colleagues followed us right to the other side, until our boat, catching up speed, left the boatmen away…