Mini-Car Ride in Margaret Island28 July, 2009
Margaret Island is named after Princess Margaret who lived in a convent here in the thirteenth century (the ruins of which can still be seen). In the 13th century King Béla IV. founded a nunnery on the island after the Mongol Invasion. The king had made a vow to sent her daughter, Princess Margaret to a Dominican nunnery if he could rebuild the country devastated by the Mongols. The Mongols had to suddenly return to their homeland so King Béla had a chance to reorganise and rebuild the country. Faithful to his vow Béla sent the 11-year old Margaret to the convent. Since then the island has bore her name. The former water tower is a UNESCO protected monument and is now an unusual exhibition space. There are no cars are allowed, but bicycles can be hired and the number 26 bus runs the entire length. There is a swimming pool, lido, two hotels and a number of eateries.
We rented a electric mini-car at a booth near the Danubius Thermal Hotel for an hour for 3400 HUF and took turns driving it around the island. A more fun way of exploring the island’s sights. It was easy to drive with just 2 gears – forward or reverse gear.. the reverse gear had an additional safety feature: a beep-beep sound as u reverse.
Some drivers’ facial expression as they navigate the narrow sidewalks (sharing with bicycles, pedestrians), roads (avoiding buses and cars) and low-lying tree branches…
We managed to see most of the sights that guidebooks said are must-sees e.g.
- The Centennial Memorial of 1973 (the sharp-looking structure), commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the city’s (Buda + Pest = Budapest) unification;
- A small Japanese Garden with a mildly thermal fish pond;
- An octagonal Water Tower of 57 m (built in Art Nouveau style in 1911, today functioning as a lookout tower and an exhibition hall) – listed as a UNESCO protected site
- Ruins of the convent where Princess Margaret stayed during the 13th century
- + many many swimming pools and sports facilities
A video of what to see and do in Margaret Island (w/o the electric car)