Leaving Lintz we head overnight for Melk where we arrive early in the morning. In the mornings we have generally had cloudy weather and a little light rain. In Melk it was no different. We are here for the morning with the main objective being the Melk Abbey, a Benedictine monastery. Monks have lived and worked here for over 900 years.
The whole Abbey underwent significant renovation in the 1990s after it had fallen into decline and hard times. The Church is simply astounding in its glitter. Apparently, someone from the Vatican said that it was worthy of being a chapel in that vast complex. There are a number of relics in residence, including what is claimed to be a splinter from the Cross and items attributable to the early followers of Benedictine. The Benedictine monastery has 450 rooms but today there are only 39 monks in residence. A large part of the rest of the building is a secondary school serving the Melk region. There is an amazing library here with books going back hundreds of years recording the life and times of the Abbey and religious thinking during all that time. They are stacked on shelves from floor to ceiling. The Abbey imposes itself on the top of a hill overlooking the town and the Danube.
As the sun comes out we head further downstream through the Wachau Valley, about 30 km of a very picturesque waterway, and arrive at Durnstein. This is the village where way back in 1192 King Richard 11 was imprisoned in the castle on the top of the hill on his way back to England from the 3rd crusade. The castle was destroyed by the Swedes during the 30 years war in 1645, today it is mostly a pile of rocks. There is a pathway that leads to the top. Allthego had a go but only got half way up before turning back as time was running short to get back to the boat. This was a good excuse as the path was pretty steep in places and a little tiring to do after lunch.
Durnstein is a very pretty little town, surrounded by vineyards and apricot orchards. These apricots end up in a number of products, including liquors and little jars of preserved fruit. Unfortunately, Homealone was of the view that we were starting to run out of room in the luggage and so we were unable to acquire some samples to bring home.
Back on board the ship we see the sun slowly set over the valley as we lounge around on the sundeck.
The ship stays in Durnstein till around midnight before sailing for Vienna.