My week has suddenly gotten very complicated (How is it that every single rental car agency in the area is SOLD OUT? Seriously.), so of course all I can think about are the pools at the Thermal Hotel Visegrad.
On our first day there, Neel had to work on his talk, but Callum and I
put on the fluffy robes that were left in our room and headed down to
the spas where the pools were located. There were five pools in all, if you count the giant indoor/outdoor pool as one.
The Danube is bordered by thermal springs, and one of these springs feed the pools at the Thermal Hotel. The air was chilly that first afternoon, and I told Callum that if it was too cold in the water, I wouldn't swim too long. Duh. Thermal spas.
The water temperature was a perfect 80-85 degrees (although the air was cool enough on that first day that I wanted to keep my shoulders submerged!), and one of the smaller indoor pools was warmed to 95 degrees. It was heaven.
The pools were made entirely of 1 X 1 mosaic tiles in graduating shades of blue and had carefully located benches and crafty alcoves throughout. At random times fountains or jacuzzis would bubble up, creating fun currents and soothing muscles.
After several times of thinking, "It smells so good," I realized that these fountains were lightly scented, and that whenever they went off they released both a torrent of cool water onto the shoulders and delicate scent into the air.
The outdoor pool connected to the indoors through a passageway with a flap. The blue tiles were darker here, but just as many benches, alcoves and fountains...both overhead and bubbling up from underwater.
This was clearly a place to come and take the waters. Callum and I were often the only English speakers which, I think, added to our relaxation, and there were several people on crutches and many, many elderly men and women. It was not unusual to see two elderly men sitting on one of the underwater benches and talking, as the water bubbled around them, for hours. Also not unusual were the European swimming costumes! Callum asked me at one point, "Momma, why do the men's swimsuits have so little cloth?" Good question, son.
We soon learned that the fountains went on and off in a specific pattern, and this area, which we called the current, was our favorite. The current blew water in that roundabout, creating a... you guessed it, current of water to swim in. All of the thrill of being swept away, with none of the danger. Speeds got quite impressive, if you stayed to the outside wall. Callum and I kept racing, and if you weren't careful, you'd either take over or get taken over by the people around you. As I said before, we were often the only English speakers, but regardless of the language, our experience was common in this roundabout. Giggles and shrieks of delight and sighs of bitter disappointment when it was over.
On our last morning, while Neel was still in talks, Callum and I went down to the pools quite early. The cycle of fountains hadn't been turned on yet, but when Callum and I got into the roundabout, someone must have noticed and turned the current on just for us! Just us two and it seemed to last forever!