Today we cruise the Wachau Valley and visit Melk. The Wachau (vah-cow) Valley is where the Danube changes from the relatively flat terrain to the Bohemian Plateau, which means high, wooded banks on each side of the river, small towns and vineyards. This region produces white wines and most of the apricots consumed in Europe.
The scenery was great so we sat on the upper deck and listened to a running commentary from Sonya, our Tour Director most of the morning as we fought the strong currents.
Melk, and the Abbey was our stop for the day. The Abbey is a huge complex on a hillside of a small village.
It houses a library of 100,000 books, all categorized and bound in a similar manner. It is still a working Abbey and has a school with 900 youth. The cathedral isn’t as ostentatious as some of the others we’ve visited, but precious nonetheless. As has been our fortune, we had time to walk the gardens before the rain came in which lasted until we finished the tour.
It only took a half hour to see the whole town on our way down the hill back to our ship. I bought some apricot mustard as it was touted as a specialty.
We pushed off and headed up river as we had a number of locks to pass and we were making slower than expected progress. We squeezed into a lock alongside two other barges. We had about four feet between them and us and six inches to the wall. While we were navigating into the lock, the captain was drinking in the lounge with the returning cruise guests leaving a junior guy to handle the duties. Here he is checking our clearance…
Tomorrow, out of Austria, into Germany, and the town of Passau. Gud nicht.