Melk and honey

Trip Start Mar 15, 2012
Trip End Apr 11, 2012

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Flag of Austria  , Lower Austria,
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

     We started the day in Melk, Austria with a bus ride to the 900-year-old Melk Abbey, today the home of about 60 Benedictine monks and a high school.  The Hapsburgs helped finance it. Part of the Abbey is now a modern day history museum, with buttons and lights and recordings to guide you through the Abbey's long history. We toured the huge library of more or less 100,000 books, which includes a large number of medieval manuscripts. It was easy to envision the monks bent over their tables, coloring a special passage of the Bible.
     The church itself is spectacular, with beautiful paintings, carved pulpits, fresco-ed ceilings, and statues. I walked back to the ship via the town, and Merrill took the bus.  I stopped to watch honeybees going in and out of an interesting beehive next to the steps down to the town. I'm still not sure how they got the honey out.  There was a small Easter market and a nice walk through the Marrying Woods, where couples who are going to be married go to plant a tree before their wedding.  I love the Easter colors in the markets and you can buy eggs that are already dyed and decorated if you want to.
     This afternoon, we cruised through the Wachau Valley, heart of Austria's wine country. We heard a lot about this because the Viking's vintner, Edward Morwald, lives near Dürnstein , our next stop. Our "included in the cost" wine at the evening meals was often from this vineyard. By this time, though, we had a regular group of friends we sat with at dinner. Alta and Brad Smith from Castle Rock, Colorado had just co-written a book about Colorado wines, so they educated the rest of us about wines -- how to taste them, how to decide what you like. Susan and Gerald Stoppel from Sublette, Nebraska had bought the optional wine packages, so we got to try the wines they ordered (different from the house wine). That was especially fun!
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