Viking Danube cruise, Melk Abbey

We finally got an easy morning. Our boat powered up the Danube through the Wachau Valley. Gordon and I sat on the top deck and enjoyed just sitting as we observed crumbling hilltop fortresses, fields of grape vines and mustard, and picturesque little town pass by. Younger tourists took advantage of the putting greens and jogging track–I don’t know where they found the energy. After lunch we got our gizmos and water bottles and were bussed to Melk Abbey. The Abbey is over 900 years old and is a Baroque masterpiece. They had a huge library with medieval manuscripts on display. The guides showed us the guest wing used by the Holy Roman Emperors. They needed lots of room because royalty traveled with a huge entourage. The monks (Benedictine) also painted the guest wing pink because that was Marie Therese’s favorite color. MT certainly had a lot of influence. The nave was another masterpiece then the guide let us loose to inspect the gardens. Of course, we had to go through the gift shop first–monks have to eat, after all–where liqueur made by the monks and honey were sold. They also sold postcards and CDs of Benedictine music but nothing really appealed to me. The gardens were lovely but we didn’t stay long because it started to rain so we climbed the 64 steps back to the bus. The guides kept talking about the steps like they were a big deal but they were nothing compared to the hill we climb at home. We weren’t even breathing hard at the top but taxis had to be arranged for some of the elderly tourists. It’s hard to do steps when you need a cane. They bussed us back to the boat and we had a nap before dinner. I’m glad we rested up because dinner was a trial. A couple from San Diego sat with us and the man was one of those American blowhards that make the rest of us look bad. He pontificated that Los Angeles was the armpit of the universe after we told him where we were from. Of course, he hadn’t been north in years and hadn’t a clue about any developments, particularly downtown. He claimed to be a wealth manager but I wouldn’t have trusted him with a dime of mine. I got rather snippy back and Gordon and I finished dinner quickly and left. I vowed never to sit with them again and I didn’t. It was still raining so we went back to our cabin and watched a movie. I really appreciated the quiet day.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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