Hungaria's Queen Elisabeth

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March 18th 2007
Published: August 8th 2007
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Her name was, Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie, Duchess in Bavaria and she was a beauty and she knew it. In fact, everyone knew it. In the State Opera House there is a huge mirror at the top of a staircase that she used. It was the staircase that led to her box where she could sit when her husband was not in attendance at the opera. When she arrived at the top of the stairs she would admire herself and adjust her hair and makeup for quite a long period of time before going to the box reserved to her. Elisabeth loved the opera and attended often. A box near and above the stage was always reserved for her. It is a terrible box from which to see the opera as only half the stage is visible from that location. But it is a great box for a beautiful women to sit and be seen by all who are in attendance. She said she was quite pleased to be seen by all.

There is a royal box in the State Opera House that could only be used if the Emperor Franz Joseph were in attendance. Well, the emperor did not like
Queen Elizabeth, the Hungarian Queen
opera and only attended once, at the grand opening. He had given his permission for the Opera House to be built, but ordered that it must be smaller than the one in Vienna. On the night of the grand opening he was quite angry. It was not that the hall was too large. Rather it was that it was too beautiful. He is reported to have said later, "The only thing I enjoyed that night was my supper."

I learned some facts from the internet about Elisabeth which I will summarize here to add to your enjoyment while you look at the pictures.

In 1853, when she was 16, Elisabeth, her mother and her nineteen year old sister, Helene, traveled to Austria. Her mother's ambition was for Helene to attract the attention of Franz Joseph, the twenty-three year old Emperor of Austria. It seems they did meet, but did not particularly like each other. The story I read says that while Helene and Franz Joseph were in a room together that Elisabeth came bouncing into the room, full of energy and immediately Franz Joseph became very interested in her. They were married
Summer PalaceSummer PalaceSummer Palace

At Gödöllő
in 1854. Later Elisabeth wrote
Summer Palace
At Gödöllőthat she regretted marrying Franz Joseph the rest of her life.

They quickly had three children, two daughters and a son, crown prince Rudolf. Some years later she bore a third daughter. One of two terrible tragedies in the family happened when Rudolf committed suicide when he was thirty-one years old. On September 10, 1898 Elisabeth was in Geneva. As she walked Luigi Luccheni, an anarchist from Italy approached her and stabbed her with a long needle, piercing her heart. The wound was small and the bleeding slight and Elisabeth and others did not realize how serious the wound was. She got on the boat and walked and talked for over an hour before collapsing and dieing from internal bleeding. Her last words were, "What is happening to me?"

About thirty kilometers northeast of Budapest lies the town of Gödöllő. Built in the Baroque style the palace of Gödöllő is one of the largest in Hungary and served as the summer palace for Emperor Franz Josef and Elisabeth. Franz Josef spent little time here, but Elisabeth often stayed here during her visits to Budapest. Parts of the palace have been repaired and are open to visitors. There are
Just a summer cottage for royality
frequent commuter trains from Budapest to Gödöllő and one of the stops is within two hundred yards of the palace. It is well worth the visit. It only costs a small amount to use the commuter train if you have purchased a 3 day tourist ticket for the Budapest transportation system and the ride is short but rather interesting.

Our resourceful (and hungry) friend Hannah asked the information officer if he knew of a good Hungarian restaurant serving typical local food. He did and we were quite fortunate. The manager of the restaurant drove his van to the castle picked us up, drove us to the restaurant, served us a wonderful meal and then brought us back to the castle to catch the train back to downtown. If you are in a spot like this, try this same trick and see if it works for you! We had so much food I carried home a chicken sandwich on good home made bread for my supper. I enjoyed the cold fruit soup very much.

Additional photos below
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Reseaurant we ate inReseaurant we ate in
Reseaurant we ate in

The food was traditional Hungarian and very good.

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