Monday, June 16, 2014

Eurocruise 15/05 Durnstein/Wachau/Melk

This was a really full on day and tiring. We stopped at a small village called Durnstein with the town dominated by a castle where Richard the Lion Heart was imprisoned and we walked a distance to the village and saw the sights (there was an embarrassing train like trailer bus available). The weather wasn't much and the cycling group tour had been cancelled.








This is a may pole and on the eve young men sleep at the maypole to protect it from being chopped down by marauding lads from nearby villages. Of course much beer and sausage are consumed by the lads. One wonders how other village poles get cut down if everyone is busy protecting their own.



They can't be seen here, but many houses had tiny little windows for peeking down the street to see who was about.


I assume that is also Durnstein on the other side of the river.


Old baths, with another use now. You can glimpse the ruins of a castle on the hill behind.



After the completion of the walking tour, it was time for some wine tasting. The host was an interesting bon vivant from England. He is a jack of all trades in the town, and grows grapes. One of the most interesting things he said is that locally produced wine is highly sought after in Austria, and there is little to sell elsewhere. A winery is allowed to open for six weeks a year to the public and to serve food, and so with only 14 hectares of grape vines, a grower can make a living. There was also a couple of shots of schnapps served. One was sweet and not so nice, but the other, well, it did not burn, it was smooth, and tasted ok but without much flavour, and simple took your breath away. I have never had anything like it. Think, 'Phwoar........that was nice, I think'.


R and I walked back to the boat via an inland route.


Looking back at historic Durnstein.


The boat left Durnstein and travelled a short distance to Melk through the Wachau Valley, passing many ruined and many maintained castles. Our Cruise Director gave us a running commentary in public areas and if you tuned the room tv to the boat's bow camera.

This is Melk Abbey. 


 Wild poppies.


Good to see some modern public art, even if I don't get it.


It is a very impressive building.



It is full of beautiful things in rooms off this very long passage.











There is also a library with very old and historical books.


Our boat is moored just to the left at the mouth of this canal. We chose to walk back down and it was a decent hike. We crossed the visible iron bridge, which had a lifting mechanism.



Through the town of Melk.



An imposing position.


Caravan parks stretch right along the Danube and other rivers we travelled in. The ones in Germany were generally very busy.


After the daily briefing about tomorrow and dinner, there was a performer on board for an hour or so. Evening performers generally got on and off at locks.


20 comments:

  1. Andrew, very lovely place so impressive and original. I like your sentence about Schnapps they are very good in Austria and in Germany,too. I love wild poppies they remind me about my childhood when I spent great time with my grandparents - a long time ago...

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    1. Gosia, Durnstein was our first really old place, and it was lovely, even if the weather was not.

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  2. I am loving this series. I find ceiling art amazing - despite the fact that the subject is not usually to my taste. We tend to neglect the ceiling now.

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    1. EC, we saw rather a lot of stunning ceilings.

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  3. Like EC the ceilings are what caught my eye - it's the one place I look when we are somewhere new (historical) and could view just them, sometimes to missing out on other things
    Cathy

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    1. Cathy, I'll make sure I include ceiling photos in future posts. I too look up often, when I should be watching where I am walking.

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  4. I like the quaint old style buildings in that picture just above the ice cream statue. I really like how every building is so well presented for the public to look upon. There is just nothing ugly there. All the buildings seem to "fit" together even with different styles side by side.

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    1. River, it is a theme of mine. Buildings don't have to be the same anywhere, but they need to fit together.

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  5. Funny how I am getting to see more of Europe through your posts despite being here myself...I guess its the difference between a holiday and work.

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    1. Thanks Ad Rad. It is also a case that our trip was highly organised for tours and to see the best.

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  6. Your trip still following closely to the program of ours even down to the weather it seems. Durnstein provided the first exposure to cold wet weather on our trip.

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    1. Victor, it must be the micro climate the grape grower spoke of.

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  7. Such history in those buildings. Isn't it amazing how much you can cram into a day when you are on holiday. I assume you kept a journal to remind yourself of the places you visited as well as the photos as your commentary is very informative.

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    1. Fun60, I did keep a brief point note book, but the daily information sheets and the photos soon made that quite superfluous. I also have three other memories to call on. Truly, there was a bit too much to do in the earlier part of the trip, but nothing I would have liked to have missed.

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  8. aaah corridors! I am strangely drawn to them

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    1. Fen, Freud says, you can walk down the corridor. You can look into the rooms and enter if you wish. But you can just keep walking and when you reach the end, you can walk back again.

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  9. Gosh you excelled with the picture taking Andrew.. so good to see exactly where you went. Were the rooms with the ornate ceilings in Melk Abbey? You sound like us when we're on holiday, more often than not we'll opt to walk when we can, you see so much more and can eat more yummy food because of the exercise factor :)

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    1. Grace, yes, the photos were taken in the abbey. We enjoy walking, as long there are plenty of 'photo stops'. But one of our companions was quite slow and I can't walk too slowly, so I would go ahead and then wait.

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  10. I loved the Benedictine Abbey of Melk and it is only about an hour from Vienna. Of course we moderns see the rebuilt version with its early C18th towers over the Danube. But it is the huge interior that stops you dead in your tracks - the over-the-top Baroque Gone Mad. And I don't even like fluttering angels!

    For my taste, I must admit, the library is sublime.

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    1. Hels, the interior was a surprise and it was all very well done. Of course I did pause to wonder about the wealth of the church.

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