Day 11: Melk & Krems: A Benedictine Abbey and LOTS OF WINE (Not at the same time)
If there is a mathematical formula that determines the inverse ratio of wine consumption to blog length, this will be a very short blog. With some nice pictures.
The Benedictine Abbey at Melk was the first stop of the day and, as are all the medieval and baroque structures we’ve seen, it was amazing. Benedictine monks have lived, studied, worked, prayed and taught at this site at Melk on the Danube for a thousand years and the recently restored but still active monastery stands as a tribute to the faith and hard work of these devoted men.
No photography was allowed in this UNESCO World Heritage site, so there are a limited number of pictures, mostly from the exterior. But touring the building and gardens was a great way to spend the morning. In particular, the library, which has one of the best print and manuscript collections in Germany smelled like history. The old, leather-bound books and manuscripts were multi-sensual.
In the afternoon, we sailed on the Danube through the Wachau Valley wine country. Vineyards lined the river and old castles and picturesque towns made frequent appearances as we headed toward the day’s destination at Krems.
At Krems we debarked and traveled a short distance to the winery chosen to supply much of the wine consumed aboard the Viking Cruise Line’s 50 long ships. We met Erhart Mörwald, the owner of the winery and our special guide for the afternoon. This energetic Austrian took us through the winery, showing us the pressing process, the fermenting process, the bottling process and, most importantly, the tasting process. We sampled six of his award winning wines, then a shot of apricot schnapps. Oh, and then a glass of cherry cordial. I don’t know whether it was the delightful wine or the significant buzz, but we left with three additional bottles and an appreciation for Austrian wine.
This evening, celebrating our first day in Austria, the ship’s chef prepared an authentic Austrian dinner, complete with Austrian beer, Austrian wine and, of course, more Austrian schnapps. Holy Crappen. We had a good time.
Tomorrow we head to Vienna, and, I think, less wine and more Viennese coffee and sacher torte.