Posts Tagged ‘Badacsony’

News broke not long ago in Hungary that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have rented a villa in the village of Tihany on Lake Balaton to spend some family time before Pitt starts shooting the adaptation of Max Brook’s epic zombie novel, War Z. The Riviera, Tihany is not. They won’t be brushing elbows with Prince, or Prince Charles, for that matter. But that is probably why they chose this sleepy peninsula on Europe’s largest lake. It is a quiet, picturesque berg, and while it can be called a national tourist destination, it can hardly be called a tourist trap.

Tihany is famous for more than its two summering stars. For starters, the Benedictine Abbey, built in 1055, contains within its charter the oldest existing example of written Hungarian. The area is also renown for its white wines, due to the soil which is rich in volcanic ash and the sunny micro-climate of the entire Badacsony region. In fact, there are three inactive volcanoes in the hills that surround the village. Brad, I recommend the Szatmári Vulcanus, a very dry, mineral white that perfectly displays the region’s terrior. It is difficult to find, but I am sure they will save a bottle for you.

Preservation – of cultural heritage and natural environment, has always been important in Tihany, and this is one reason why its beauty is so striking. And the town is not without its own unique, romantic mise-en-scene. From the hilltops, tourists thrill to the echo you get when shouting towards Lake Balaton.  Few, however, know the legend behind the echo. According to the story, there was a princess who owned golden-fleeced goats, but was punished by the king for her aloofness and stubbornness: her goats were drown in Lake Balaton – only the sharp edges of their hooves washed ashore (which, in reality, were the edges of pre-historic clam shells). The princess was sentenced to answer the greeting of every passer-by, hence the echo.

Tihany is filled with a secret history as well. It is claimed that the fortress (now in ruins) on Tihany has never been taken by any army. Perhaps the zombies will come up against similar spirited resistance in War Z – or maybe they will just kick back with a glass of Vulcanus and enjoy what the Pitt-Jolies already know.

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