TRAVEL THERE: THE CHAPEL AT MELK ABBEY
Pretty amazing, huh? Last week I told you about my recent visit to Melk Abbey and compared it to a unique experience I’d enjoyed during a previous visit. While the rest of the abbey suffered from the absence of my original guide, you really don’t need a guide in the chapel. Anywhere your eye lands is remarkable.
The Chapel of Baroqueness
Though I’d spent much of the previous day gawking at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, when it comes to over-the-top Baroqueness, the palace didn’t hold a candle to the Melk Abbey Chapel. I could wax eloquent over the charms of the chapel, but I’ll just let a few photographs do the talking.
Back to the Boat
With all of our senses beaten to a bloody pulp of Baroque over-stimulation, we had a choice to make when we left the chapel. We could either grab a bus back to the boat or stroll to the dock through the small town of Melk. For once, Mr. Bill was the more adventurous. I still hadn’t thawed out from our wait in the courtyard, so subjecting myself to more punishment seemed foolish. I hot-footed it to the buses with the other elderly and handicapped people, because I was feeling very elderly and quite handicapped.
The first order of business was a very long, very hot shower. Cocktail hour was approaching. Bill strolled in just about the moment I was strolling out. The cocktail hour was preceded by a presentation about other Viking cruises available. Bill had no desire to be enticed into booking our next cruise, so I went and wished on my own.
As far as the crew was concerned, this was a big night. Instead of our usual leisurely dinner, we were having an enormous buffet of Austrian treats. Each table was tricked out with checkered tablecloths and racks of huge pretzels. The chic sophistication of the dining room was subjected to an oom-pah-pah polka band, while our wait staff donned dirndls and lederhosen.
I can’t say I was a fan. While most of the food was good, the pretzels were a disappointment (much too tough by my American standards) and brats are not my favorite things. However, what they missed in culinary quality they made up in gourmand quantity. I will give them these accolades, the effort at entertainment was remarkable and the local wines they served were outstanding.
Time for Bed
After dinner we were offered a dose of Mozart in the lounge, but the foodfest was such an ordeal that I can’t even remember whether we made it to the presentation or not. If we did, I didn’t gain any new insights into the eccentric genius. I do remember crawling into bed in utter exhaustion.
I’ll leave you with a summary video of our day in the Wachau Valley. Come back next week and we’ll visit our next stop along the Danube.