Friday, July 30th, 2004: Vienna, Austria
Salzburg via Melk to Vienna: 318 kilometres
We have a leisurely chat with our host, Martin, this morning over breakfast and discover that he is quite an accomplished young man.
We don’t have to be in Vienna before 6 pm so we linger and head out around noon. Our B&B hosts in Vienna, Kristian and Alex, have told us that we should stop and visit the Abbey in Melk, an hour or so outside of Vienna,
The morning is clear and sunny as we head to Vienna. We are both tired of the driving, day here, day there, life we have been leading. I secretly think that we are anticipating being on our vacation-away-from-our-vacation in Croatia in 48 hours, but our drive is buoyant and fun and we arrive in Melk around 3 p.m. and find an incredible baroque fantasy famous for its library, which is mentioned in Umberto Ecco’s “Name of the Rose”. There has been an abbey and library on this site since the 12th century, one of the most important in the Holy Roman Empire. Situated on the Danube, it is a huge building and it dominates the picturesque town of Melk below.
From Top: The Abbey of Melk above the town; the main courtyard; the Cathedral
From Top: The Altar at Melk; detail of the Library; the Marble Room at Melk
We enter and are immediately directed to the Abbey’s extremely interesting, modern and interactive museum. We make our way through the rest of the abbey – staterooms, library and church – and wander over to into town to do some banking and have a look around before heading back up to the Abbey and having a rest stop in its garden.
The Garden Pavilion at Melk
But Vienna is just down the road and we arrive with great directions about 6:15 without a hitch, finding parking easily. However easy a day it has been, we are both tired. Our hosts are heading out of town for the weekend and it turns out that we will have the flat to ourselves for our time here. John runs to the corner store and buys some wine and we all have a drink together; then we unpack for the night, and head out to their recommended local restaurant for dinner and an early evening. I have risotto with gorgonzola and John has a wonderful dish of breaded and sautéed kohlrabi with a pesto sauce. The meal is surprisingly good for the price and so we wander back to our flat and enjoy the penthouse patio view as the full moon rises over Vienna.