Famous writers and actresses. Champagne, gambling, fistfights and sex. A torchlit sightseeing casting light on the private life of the historic Balatonfüred in the frame of Open Balaton with We Love Balaton and literary historian Mihály Praznovszky. Tour de Infidelities, 2 May.
The nicely renovated houses of Balatonfüred's Reform Era centre tells you little about the sticky side of history, in spite of the fact that the Hungarian 'Vale of Tempe' was a dream destination to more than those yearning for some intellectual fizzle. There came those looking for summer flings, the gamblers, the cons and the prostitues -who had to be removed from Balatonfüred to Arács by force in 1849, as their presence posed a threat to entertainment of scrupulous guests.
Not only insignificant Corinthians dived headfirst into the Balatonfüred nights. Count Géza Zichy, who was sent to Budapest to recover from a serious accident at the age of 16, jumped instead into the pleasures of Balatonfüred and later reported that his amusements and feasts were getting out of hand. At a festive dinner, Count Mihály Esterházy had some many champagne bottles opened that even the staff was drunk for days.
Today, respectful restaurants, museums and offices stand where once gambling dens and brothels received their guests and the champagne-drenched evenings of Balatonfüred were spent. The memories of these notorious places, however, are not only preserved in the notes and letters of aristocrats and writers.
We Love Balaton invites you to a torchlit sightseeing in the frame of which Mihály Praznovszky (academic of literary history) will guide us through the places that witnessed the infidelities of Hungarian historical and literary personalities. Praznovszky's entertaining anecdotes will bring cast a new light on buildings and bring the stories alive.
The first (and often only) thing that pops into everyone's mind when hearing the name of Lujza Blaha is her byname, 'the nightingale of the nation'.The celebrated actress of the turn of the century spent 20 years full of mysteries in Balatonfüred. Many of her love affairs were strongly tied to Balatonfüred.
And what about Ms Blaha's neighbours? Did the novelist really Mór Jókai love only one woman throughout his life? Who was Ottília? We know little of her, but his wife, Róza Laborfalvy knew enough to consider filing a divorce.
The acclaimed novelist, Gyula Krúdy was not frequenting Balatonfüred for medical reasons exclusively. The fan of women's ankles and broth fell in love with both wife and daugther of the director of the Royal Hotel of Budapest. He eloped with the latter to Balatonfüred, where their half-secret honeymoon made a stir thanks to the tantrums of the jealous mother-in-law.
Get to know more about the secret private life of Balatonfüred! The walk starts from the garden of the Jókai Villa (Honvéd u. 1.) at 8 PM on 2 May. The programme is free, and we provide torches while our stocks last. Our event is part of the Open Balaton event series.
We used facts from articles by the Északipart magazin and Imre Halász's study entitled "Nyaralás, idegenforgalom és a szerelmi szabadfoglalkozásúak" in this article.