I’ve just finished reading the history of King Bela IV 1235-1270. The tourist story goes like this: Hungary was attacked by the Mongols and King Bela promised God if Hungary was saved he would sacrifice his daughter to God. According to the history I just read Bela actually lost the war. Europe was saved because the head Mongol took his Mongol Hordes and went home. There was a death in the family and he needed to make sure he didn’t lose his place in the line of succession. The outcome was King Bela sent his 4 year old daughter to the nuns and eventually built her, her very own convent on the island in the middle of the Danube. She died at the age of 29 after leading a chaste, contemplative life, and refusing to allow her father to call the whole thing off and use her for some marriage diplomacy. Dying young in a convent reminds me of Galileo’s Daughter. For her sacrifice she was made a saint and got an island named after her. Not a bad deal really.
Because the temperature Sunday was almost 60 degrees after the previous miserable weekend, Margaret’s Island was a phenomena. The island was invaded by hordes of Hungarians enjoying the beautiful weather.
There is a Centenary Monument commemorating the joining of Buda, Obuda and Pest. Other highlights are ancient monastery ruins, a water tower in the middle of an outdoor theater and two fancy hotels. They are really proud of the swimming pool which was built by Alfred Hajos an 1896 Olympic swimmer. I understand the Pan-European games are held there but my swimmer sister will have to weigh in on whether is a suitable 21st century facility. I didn’t get close enough to get pictures.
The island reminds me of a giant Manito Park with a rose garden, Japanese Garden and small zoo. There is something for everyone and there were LOTS of people. They have a bike track around the island and I understand they will run you over if you get in their way.
We walked the length of the island, went over the bridge and looked at Obuda which is the oldest part of Budapest but was ruined by the “socialist.” I’ve been told not to call them Communist. It is a little confusing because the Socialist party is part of the government now. How about the Russian influenced Socialist. Politics is even more confusing because the present Socialist Party is busy trying to sell off the public companies and trying to privatize health care. By the way the companies for sale are the electric power company and the Post Office both of which are making lots of money.
We ended with great dinner at a Turkish cafeteria and a beer at an historic pub. I took the No. 6 tram home and it never strayed from the route but I would swear it was NOT the same route it took Saturday. Very short slide show.