It’s the most visited attraction in Budapest, but not even the healing waters of the Széchenyi thermal baths are enough to convince Travel Man host Richard Ayoade to get his shirt off on camera, resulting in a chorus of jeers from the locals as he enters the pool. Accompanied by Irish comedian/actress Aisling Bea, Ayoade explains, “I’ve given people so much, why should I give them my naked torso.” Fair point.
Although the pair don’t feel the immediate effects of the pool’s high mineral content, the visit isn’t a complete waste. They also get to play a game of swim-up chess, and take some time out from their busy schedule of taking selfies and eating goulash in the Hungarian capital.
Later, Ayoade and Bea are made to feel really old when they visit Budpast’s Gyermekvasút or Children’s Railway, where all the jobs except driving the train – you know, the one thing kids would really like to do – are handled by minors. Originally a Communist-era initiative to teach teamwork, the railway is slightly unnerving, what with all the youngsters in uniform taking tickets and running stations. The countryside, however, is worth the reminder of your mortality.
Watch the Budapest episode of Travel Man at SBS On Demand: