After the busy and tiring day we spent in Vienna we decided to give our legs a little break. Since we are an outdoorsy couple we choose to spend a day in nature on Margaret Island.
Margaret Island is a quiet place on the Danube, located about 500 meters north of the Parliament building. It is a perfect spot for a chill-out day and relaxing from the crowded streets of Budapest.
We arrived on the island by the yellow and pretty Margaret bridge. At the entrance people were renting all kinds of vehicles for tourists to get around. We agreed on renting a weird model of a bike/car. It looked like an upgraded version of the car that The Flintstones family drove. The brilliant engineering innovations included pedals which meant that, unlike Fred and Wilma, our bare feet will be kept off the floor.
Equipped with our new mean machine we started exploring the island with no particular plan in mind. The first thing we saw were the ruins of the Franciscan church that was built in the fourteenth century. Although there is only one wall left you can see that the church was magnificent.
The next thing we ran into were the ruins of the Dominican convent. The most important historical facts about the island were connected to these ruins that were more than 700 years old. According to the legends the desperate king Bela IV sacrificed his daughter to the God so that Mongol army doesn’t return to Budapest. His daughter, Margaret, a nine year old girl, was sent to this convent, where she stayed for the rest of her life without ever leaving it. She died here at the age of 29, and was buried in the convent. The island and its bridge got their names in her honor. Even though this is a beautiful child molesting story, that you would probably tell your kids and grandkids before they go to bed, it actually has a happy ending – the Mongols really never returned to the city.
After some classic Fred and Wilma fights about who controls the wheel of our furious vehicle, we finally arrived to the beautiful Japanese garden located on the north end of the island. Despite the fact that the winter took away most of its magic we could still enjoy a walk among the charming waterfalls and statues that were spread throughout the garden.
On the ride back we passed by the UNESCO protected Water Tower. Designed and constructed in Art Nouveau style in 1911, this impressive building was supplying the whole island with fresh water. Today it is used by tourists and offers panoramic views of Margaret Island. Sadly, when we were visiting it was closed. I think the pictures from the 57m high tower would have been amazing.
The last stop on our tour of the island was a totally unexpected zoo. Yes, a zoo. It wasn’t big, but seeing animals is always a plus side of everything. We got a chance to feed and pet some of the horses. The entrance was free of charge and it only took us about 15 minutes to visit the whole thing.
It was time to return our pedaling baby back to its owners. That was a sad moment because we really got used to moving around this beautiful park full of history with our technologically advanced version of the Flintstones car. Our couple of hours long adventure on the Margaret Island was really amazing and we recommend it to everybody who enjoys nature and the outdoors. The perfect time for a visit would be in the spring or summer and if we have a chance we will certainly be coming back when the weather is better.
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