No rush for anything today, just a stroll along the shaded side of the shopping street Vaci Utca and along to the Central Market Hall. Inside this cavernous space was a colourful display of fruit, vegetables, sausage and the ubiquitous paprika, as well as textiles, leather and food stalls selling the local pizza-like langos. We searched in vain amongst kitchen utensils for the lovely individual-sized ‘deep frying’ baskets in which our chips had been served on the ship, but instead came away with an espresso maker. Again, when in Rome and all that …
Very definitely in Budapest, we had lunch at one of the city’s most famous establishments, Café Gerbaud, rather along the lines of Vienna’s Café Central with old world charm and a history of serving the likes of Franz Liszt. Sitting outside, even under canopies we needed extra protection from the heat, in the form of fans that not only circulated cool air but a fine spray of water. Guess who sat close enough to be dripped on?
Bearing in mind our afternoon plans, we limited ourselves to a ‘light’ salad(served in a dish that turned out to have a deep end) and resisted the temptations of the Gerbaud’s cake selection. For we were about to sample one of Budapest’s specialities, the Gellért thermal pool. This turned out to be several pools in fact in a sprawling complex, outdoors and in, varying in temperature and purpose. First of all we had to buy fetching red swimming caps and hire towels, negotiating a labyrinth of passageways following the vaguest of directions offered by the staff. Once changed in our rented cabins we spent a good couple of hours alternating between the respective pools, plus a session the sauna followed by a dunk in the cold tub. Outside there was a general pool for simply sitting around in and another for splashing in the waves. The only pool for actual swimming was indoors, in a double-height room more like an art nouveau cathedral. We negotiated our way past a group of ladies of a certain age engrossed in an aquarobics class, as we put in a good few lengths, sure of a therapeutic effect on our muscles and skin.
Hopefully we’d shed a calorie or two as well before another dinner at Terminal. Great food again although with variable service, but we were away in time to walk back along to the Chain Bridge to wave Legend off. She cast off for her return trip to Passau, gliding away from Budapest’s fabulous illuminations.