Suggested by our program directors and Metropole, a Viennese magazine published in English, Ester and I went on a day excursion consisting of a bike ride through Wachau Valley from Melk to Krems directly along the Danube River. We took a one hour train ride to Melk and explored Stift Melk (Melk Abbey), the most famous abbey in Austria.
This 11th century abbey sits up on a rocky hill and overlooks the Danube. It contains 500 rooms and houses a museum and impressive library. Benedictine Monks still live and work in Stift Melk. I spy.. eine gelbe Kappe!
In the courtyard
Ester and her cute yellow hat!
It seems like anywhere I go in Austria, the views never fall short of spectacular.
The view from inside, looking out the window above a stairway
With our entry ticket we were able to walk all around the building– inside and outside–including the museum, the library, the outdoor deck, and the monastery.
We also had access to the gardens and pavilion. We sat in the grass beneath some trees on the back side of the pavilion and ate the packed lunches we brought– fueling up for the long bike ride ahead!
Standing inside the pavilion
Rose garden next to the pavilion
We spent a good while wandering through the garden paths. At the end, we found winding stairs that led up to the roof of one of the buildings, and took some shots from there.
Another view of the pavilion
Courtyard view from above
After spending the morning at the abbey and strolling through the very quaint town of Melk, we found bikes to rent using a shared bike service. This way, we paid just a couple euros to ride them to Krems (~36km) and leave them in the assigned bike racks there. It took us a total of about 4 hours, double the amount of time Google Maps initially proposed to us.. However, we took numerous breaks along the Danube and a ferry ride to other side of the river, bikes and all! The entire ride we were surrounded by green hills and mountains and tiny villages and vineyards and rows of Marillenbäume (Marillen are like apricots –> apricot trees). It’s hard to put the experience into words and capture the full effect on camera.
Wonderful wonderful Ester, my model for the day 🙂
At our destination, we treated ourselves to many scoops of Eis. Oh, how I miss the Eis Cafés! Bellies full of ice cream and legs like jelly, we caught the train back to Vienna. It was the most magnificent day. Imagine in the movies when people go on picturesque bike tours through Europe.. That was us. There is nothing I would have changed about that day. Wunderschönes Österreich! ♥