Wednesday, December 19, 2001

What Shall We Do Today?

What Shall We Do Today?

It seems like the age-old question of guests. What would you like to do today? Ron prepares himself for all and any answers to this question by having information on hand to fulfill any guest’s wishes. However, our guests did not want to do any of the tourist things, so we just lounged around and talked some more. That suited us just fine and so we did. Later when Ron shared a bit about a thermal bath that he had found with a heated outdoor swimming pool and lake, we were all curious enough to venture out to see it. Rachel had stayed at Iboyla’s and was spending the day with her.

The Ssechenyi Spa Thermal is a comprehensive place that not only offers thermal bathing and swimming in indoor and outdoor heated pools, it also offers mud baths, facials, manicures, pedicures, physical therapy, and medical consultations. We walked in the lobby and looked at some of the offerings. Situated in a huge park, we walked the grounds. Located in the same area are three museums, which did not seem to be open. One was the Museum of Agriculture. Around one end of the park was a restaurant, so we stopped for coffee. Outside the window were ice skaters that must have been professional since there were markers posted and people with stopwatches and clipboards. It was enjoyable to watch them with the museums that looked like castles sitting in the background.

Poor Randall was bound by the clock. He had to buy a parking ticket every two hours, the limit for each purchase. There are no parking meters, but there is a machine that you purchase your parking time, then display the ticket on the dashboard. Two hours is the limit, so inconveniently, you have to run down and feed the machine again and again, making it an obstacle to completely relax. Even with his vigilance, he received a parking ticket.

Later this evening, we brought Myrtis and Randall to the Christmas market, but we were late and most of the booths were closed or closing. It was disappointing since they had wanted to purchase Christmas stockings like our quilted ones that we bought there.

For dinner, we brought them to our favorite restaurant from four years ago, The Marquis de Salade. Hoping that it was ever as good as we had remembered it, we walked in at 8:30 pm and were asked if we had reservations. It seems that reservations are the thing to do regardless of the scale of the restaurant. Ron and I have been to regular local places that would not make it in a tourist guide, but they took reservations and at times, we had problems getting a table. With a twenty-minute wait, the Marquis found seating for us and we were able to appreciate a delicious meal with good friends.

The evening concluded back at the apartment with coffee, dessert and more talking. Then the reality of their leaving in the morning started to sink in and I think Ron and I both had a bit of depression over this realization. We are both so used to having so many social opportunities, especially around the holidays, that it has been more of a culture shock not having the usual anticipatory events even if we were always on a journey for the actual holiday. Tomorrow, Myrtis, Randall, and Rachel will be driving eight hours to Zadar, Croatia, where they maintain an apartment that they had rented last year when Myrtis was teaching there. They have friends coming in from Spain to join them for the holiday. We envy and have told them so, at how easily they can convince friends and relatives to come visit them regardless of where they happen to be living.

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