The Wachau Valley and Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey was on my “don’t miss” list. So, I signed up for a full day bus tour to the Wachau Valley and Melk Abbey. I was picked up at my hotel in a van and then transferred to the double decker bus at the station. The first stop on the tour was the small village of Durnstein in the Wachau Valley. We walked up the hill to the village overlooking the Danube and strolled through the village stopping to taste the local apricot liquor. The liquor-filled chocolates were addictive!
Back on the bus, the road followed the river through the Valley to the village of Emmerling where we stopped for lunch at the Schwarzen Baren (Black Bear) restaurant. We were treated to a delicious lunch before re-boarding the bus to continue our journey to Melk Abbey.
Melk Abbey is a Benedictine Abbey that sits on a rocky outcrop above the town of Melk overlooking the Danube and the Wachau Valley. We had two local tour guides for the hour and a half tour of the Abbey. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photographs of the interior. It’s difficult to describe all the magnificent artifacts on display and the massive libraries with thousands of manuscripts and volumes with matching bindings. The original Abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II gave one of his castles to the Benedictine monks. The beautiful Baroque abbey currently in existence was built between 1702 and 1736. The abbey church is breath-taking with it fabulous frescoes and paintings.