The Kiraly Baths are a fun spa which reminded me so much of ones in Istanbul but soaking instead of sweating. Kiraly was built during the Ottoman occupation of Budapest sometime in the 1500s and the environment in the spa conjures up notions of how it might have been as traditions in bathing couldn’t have changed that much. The pool looks authentic with its octagon shape. The roof over the baths was traditional dome shaped and was very old looking!
Saturday at Kiraly was men’s day, so I was having a soak with so many men of all ages, shapes and sizes. It was a real male bonding experience. An attendant shows you to a small changing room which has no lock. Once you are wearing your swim shorts, he assists you to the baths area. There is one which has high humidity in the air and the water is a murky brown, probably quite healthy with lots of minerals like magnesium and calcium and the like. Lots of guys were getting in and out of the water. Outside this area is a cool water pool but not many people were in that.
I crawled into the murky brown warm water and instantly relaxed. Guys next to me smiled, and I felt a finger or two from another direction touch me. I nonchalantly moved around the bathing area, and found myself in a group of men speaking together in a deep conversation in what I presumed was Hungarian. I instantly felt fingers going around my waist and tugging down my swim shorts and groping all around me! I turned around and saw smiling and laughing guys, I also smiled and laughed and gestured politely, “no no no” shaking my head shyly and moved to another area.
I decided to leave when it was time to go out and look for something to eat for dinner. My body felt relaxed and Ottomanised!
I wish was born in the Ottoman era.
Jim is the author of Vagaybond.com. Vagaybond travel journeys show you the extraordinary lives of our gay community, their supportive family and friends with blog highlights about culture, food, drink and experiences that celebrate life.