"" Writer's Wanderings: Cruising The Danube – Melk, Austria

Monday, January 01, 2018

Cruising The Danube – Melk, Austria

The Crystal Mozart spent part of the morning finishing its journey to Melk, Austria. Had it been at least 40 degrees warmer, it would have been a nice ride on the top deck viewing the passing countryside. We sat in the forward lounge with a cup of coffee and enjoyed the view in warm quarters.

Our arrival was just before lunch and our scheduled excursion was to be just after. We enjoyed another wonderful meal in the Waterside Restaurant on board and then bundled up for our trip to Melk Abbey. It was a cloudy, cold and windy day again. Our hope was to get indoors as quickly as possible.

Our bus made the climb to the Abbey which overlooks the town of Melk. It was a beautiful view but we didn’t stop long to admire it. Our group hurried along behind our tour guide to a spot just inside the courtyard of the Abbey where he explained to us some of the background of the amazing structure.
The Abbey was built between 1701-1736 upon the foundation of a medieval monastery. It now houses a private school for boys and girls. Our guide for the tour inside the Abbey was a young man who had been a student there and was now studying at a university. He was quite personable and did a wonderful job giving us background and history and a few personal stories.

The library is one of the most spectacular features of the Abbey. The main hall we visited has over 16,000 volumes but there are over 100,000 more books in 12 other rooms not open to the public. It is still an active research library. The ceiling is a fresco by Paul Troger. It was amazing in that it was painted to appear to be curves and yet it was flat. You had to really look hard to see where the wall met the ceiling at an angle.

Of course the other spectacular area of the Abbey was the church. To get to it we walked along a curved terrace that overlooks the town as well as the Danube below it. Cold as it was, we still lingered a bit for pictures as well as just admiration for the view.
Inside the church is another breathtaking ceiling by Troger as well as many other designs by several other artists of note. It is truly impressive.

There was an option to go into town but we opted to head back to the boat to get warm. We would learn as we went that churches and cathedrals are not heated. While Bob went to a lecture on the Austro-Hungarian Empire, I curled up in a blanket and tried to warm up. Yup, you guessed it. I napped.

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