It was Erica’s birthday, so we knew we wanted to do something really special. After we had to move to a hostel because our couch surfing hosts were expecting another guest that night, we decided to visit the Széchenyi thermal baths, one of the largest spa complexes in Europe. It was glorious. There were saunas, indoor pools, and a huge naturally heated outdoor pool. Though it wasn’t the warmest of days, we couldn’t stay out of that outdoor pool; the water was warm and the air was full of laughter and conversation. We left shortly before the complex closed and stopped by Vajdahubyad Castle, nestled just a couple minutes from the spa.
Of all the European castles I had been to previous to this, Versailles included, I had never been so transported into a fairlytale. Passing through the gated archway, fortified by windowed turrets, we were rendered speechless. There weren’t many people in the park so we could enjoy the grounds in peace; the enormous pond stretched out before the castle was still as a mirror, with only occasional ripples from passing ducks floating softly home for the night. The foliage was a deep green, the air was sparkling, and there were surely fairies dancing in the moss.