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Drewlin's Danube Delights - Melk and Durnstein

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    Drewlin's Danube Delights - Melk and Durnstein

    Captain's Blog Emerald Stardate 14260.6

    Today we docked in Melk in time for breakfast. At 10:00 we travelled by coach to Melk Abbey. This is a short journey, but as it is up hill most passengers wishing to visit the Abbey used the coach. There were some hardy souls who walked up. There are some passengers who are suffering from ABC Syndrome (not Another Bl***y Church Syndrome) who did not come on the excursion. This is not to be confused with the other strain of ABC Syndrome (Not Another B Castle).

    Group bookings are allocated a tour time, so whilst we were waiting for the tour to start we enjoyed the gardens. There is a viewing platform which provides excellent views of not only the garden, but also the town of Melk.

    We then climb the Imperial stairs into the Abbey, where the guest apartments have been converted into an exhibition into the history and life in the Benedictine Abbey. We end up in the Great Hall. We have been in many rooms during the cruise where the ceilings appear to be vaulted, but are in fact flat and it is the way they are painted that gives this impression. This illusion is seen at its best in the middle of the room, as you walk towards the edge of the room you can see the pillars no longer appear straight.

    We are then taken into the Library, where due to the delicacy of the books photography is not permitted.

    This is a pity as the rooms are beautiful. Drew was studying one of the pillars up close. There was the occasional piece of genuine relief, but in the main they were flat. When he moved into the corner of the room the columns looked sculptured.

    It was now time to enter the Abbey’s chapel. This is accessed by a spiral staircase and Drew managed this photo as he left the library.

    There is a mirror placed at the bottom of the stair case. As you are moving in groups it is difficult to take the perfect photo, but hopefully this one gives you an idea of the overall effect.

    This leads you into the Abbey

    We were back on board for lunch, a buffet in MDR or light option in lounge bar by 12.30pm and the ship set sail down the Wachau Valley to Durnstein at 13.30pm. There was a running commentary during this part of the cruise and here are some photos.

    As we arrived in picturesque Durnstein at around 3pm, we had a talk about typical Wachau Valley produce and tasting. Robert from Wieser gave a very entertaining talk about the various products that they make from apricots (marille). They switched from vines to apricots due an insect infestation which decimated 95% of the vines although the vine is now making a return. We tasted the apricot schnapps, apricot liqueur, apricot jam (more like a puree), apricot pieces covered in dark chocolate (a bit like chocolate sultanas) and an apricot barbecue sauce which was absolutely delicious. Nothing about the apricot is wasted as they roast the pips within the apricot kernel and cover them in salt. They look like salted peanuts but taste quite different and are also delicious. As part of their marketing talk we also got 3 euros discount on any purchase over 15 euros. We then staggered off the ship to do the short walk into the town which is very charming and pretty. After Drew had taken numerous photos especially of bikes and flower window boxes (am getting quite worried about this addiction!) we slowly strolled back to the ship calling at one of the three Wieser shops. There Drew, to his delight, discovered that not only was there schnapps and liqueur but also whisky! Well he had to blag a couple of tastings to give them his expert whisky opinion, although to be fair he did warn them that he wouldn’t be buying any at 45 euros. I also had a small sip which, to my inexperienced palate, was very nice and smooth.

    During our walk, I spotted this sign which reads Sanger Blondel. As my maiden name is Sanger and I knew that we originated from south Germany/Austria area sometime in 12/13th century as it is, apparently, mentioned in Magna Carta, I had to have a photo taken.

    It turns out that Blondel was actually King Richard the Lionheart’s vassal, who helped to free him when he was imprisoned in Durnstein at the time of his 3rd crusade.

    As the ship wasn’t sailing until during dinner, Drew decided to try one of the several bikes that they have on board for passengers’ use. They also provide helmets and padlocks should you require them.

    He thoroughly enjoyed himself as the cycle path kept to the side of the river with some wonderful views and when it splits from running alongside the river, he found himself cycling through vineyards.

    After dinner, the crew put on a show which was very enjoyable, even more so because you knew most of the crew. Highlight (and very funny) was a mind reading act by the hotel manager. It felt really weird seeing our room steward, Devi. leading a quartet singing traditional folk songs.
    As you can see, our days are very full, so after the show we retired to bed wondering what adventures awaited in Vienna!
    Cheers Drew and Linda

    Thanks again it brought back such good memories of Melk and Durnstein and we thought the Abbey to be a good excursion.
    We did the cruise in the reverse order that you are doing.


      We been there brought back memories an excellent place to vist, almost fairy tale like.


        Another great blog and fantastic pictures. Many thanks for giving up so much of your holiday time to keep us up to date.
        Queen Mary 2
        Queen Victoria
        Queen Elizabeth


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