Melk Monastery – European River Cruise
When our boat arrived at Melk shortly after breakfast, we were transferred by coach to Melk Monastery. As the coach crossed a small bridge to get onto the main road, we could see this beautiful monastery up on the hill. Whether it was the fogginess of mind early in the morning, or excitement at seeing the monastery, we didn’t pay too much attention to where the boat was moored as it didn’t seem to be too far from where we spotted the monastery. Tony and I got lost finding our way back and so did others – and one couple very nearly missed the boat. We all followed the sign to the port, but that’s not where the boat was moored.
When we arrived at the monastery, we spent some time in the garden and its small palace next to the entrance – not to be missed. The baroque garden pavilion has famous frescoes by Johan Wenzel Bergl and some of the scenes are rather interesting.
The Abbey itself contains extensive exhibition rooms, containing all manner of sacred and profane objects imaginatively displayed. One of my favorite pieces of art work was Jörg Breu’s winged altar with the cross by Arnulf Rainer. After the Church, the Library is the second most important room, holding some 100,000 books, including impressive manuscripts from before 15th C. to modern works.
The Abbey visit takes time, and afterwards you can make your own way back to the boat through Melk village. It’s a pretty place and this is your opportunity to stop for an espresso coffee at one of the little cafes or try some local cheeses or pastries in the shops, that is if you didn’t have a huge breakfast.