Sunday, May 14, 2006

Healing Waters

Patricia was charmed by Ron’s invitation to join him at mass at St. Stephan’s cathedral, so off they went for the 10:30 mass. As soon as they were out of the front door, Ron remembered he left his keys on the counter and Patricia left her transportation pass in the room. Ron wanted either Don or I to run these things down, but both Don and I were still in our robes. Ron had to make the return trip.
They did an abbreviated mass, since the three of them were going to go to Széchenyi thermals for an afternoon of water fun. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is o­ne of the largest spa complexes in Europe. It's also the first thermal bath of Pest. Chances are if you have seen photos of men playing chess on floating chess boards, it was this thermal. It is mixed men and women and bathing suits are mandatory. During the warm months, there are separate roof top areas for nude sunbathing. This thermal has a graduated pay system. You will pay 2,000 Huf for a locker or 2,300 Huf for a change room. If you leave within 2 hours, you will receive 800 Huf refund. Leaving between 2 and 3 hours, the refund is 500 Huf. If you really are enjoying your stay and leave after 3 to 4 hours, you will have 200 Huf refunded. After 4 hours, you do not receive a refund. To see photos of it, go to our website at and then the Thermals link.
After a late morning tea, the three water sprites made their way to the medicinal waters. I decided to lag behind, do some writing and finish up end of the semester school work. I was still at the computer when they blew in the door, Patricia especially beaming like she swallowed the sun. With a Cheshire cat grin, she exclaimed “Ron’s timing was perfect. If we had done the baths at the beginning of the week, I would have said forget history, forget culture. I just want to go to the baths every day.” Asking if they enjoyed it would have been redundant. Don and Patricia each had a massage, so they looked like two little puddles of South African butter, so thoroughly relaxed.
The four of us combined foods for a Sunday feast of cold roasted chicken, olives, salad, fresh fruit, and halva. Patricia had bought a loaf of challah bread and we broke it together and ate. We stuffed ourselves with sharing both conversation and friendship. The food was nourishing and delicious, but only poor seconds to the sharing experience.
After the dishes were done, Don and I were heading in different directions for a nap, but Ron found a soul mate for his love of opera. He and Patricia went to the other opera house to see “The Magic Flute”.
As Don and I emerged from our respective cocoons, we had a non-stop conversation traveling through a dozen threads of topics. We were planning Ron and my next vacation to Africa when the music buffs wandered back in at 10:30. The opera received accolades from our two aria fans. We sat around for our evening tea, strawberries, and halva continuing our nightly ritual and then said good-night.
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