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Day 5 – Melk & the Wachau Valley

During breakfast we moored at Melk for a visit to the Benedictine monastery of Sift Melk perched on a ridge above the town here.  You can’t miss it – it’s huge, Baroque in style and dominates the landscape. Inside it is truly splendid, marble and gold leaf in abundance, painted ceilings made to look higher with the use of perspective – it was no surprise to learn that many of famous painters, stucco craftsmen and sculptors of the 18th century had a hand in the building of the monastery.  Though along with this overall impression of wealth and craftsmanship the thing I’m going to remember is the reusable coffin, an idea introduced by Joseph ll

Back on Viking Danube we cruised through the Wachau Valley enjoying the scenery (and a warming soup) from the comfort of the Viking lounge.  The hills are close to here, it’s a wine producing and apricot growing region with vineyards, churches and monasteries on every bend.  A commentary from our  program director, Marcela, sitting in the wheelhouse was appreciated, keeping us up to speed with the passing sights.  Felt a bit guilty though at the thought of Ian, getting  chilly on deck taking the photos.

A strudel making demonstration and talk of Viennese coffee this afternoon to prepare us for cafe society in Vienna  tomorrow.

Interior of Melk Abbey Austria showing fine frescos, stucco work and leather bound books in library

Many of the finest 18th century painters and stucco craftsmen had a hand in creating the splendid interior of Melk Abbey. Leather bound books line the walls of the abbey library - can you make out the hidden door in the bookcase above?

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