Melk, Dürnstein, and Spitz - Day 7 Wednesday February 14

Community Highlights Europe Melk, Dürnstein, and Spitz - Day 7 Wednesday February 14

We awoke to festive decorations onboard...


...and our Regensburg candy gifts.


Our first stop of the day, Melk, lies at the convergence of the Danube and Melk Rivers, at the base of the Wachau Valley, known for wine and apricots (WIN/WIN).

Located above the town of Melk, overlooking the Danube, is Melk Abbey (Stift Melk), one of Europe’s largest and most revered Baroque monasteries. Since 1089, Benedictine Monks have continually been living and working in Melk Abbey.


This magnificent Benedictine abbey houses a museum chronicling its history and a famous library with countless medieval manuscripts and over 100,000 books. This library served as the inspiration for Umberto Eco’s classic novel “The Name of the Rose." It is heartbreaking to this blogger that interior photos are not encouraged; our guide suggested that we," just be discreet and don’t get caught."


The abbey’s church is a kaleidoscope of red, orange and gold, with shimmering ceiling frescoes. The very impressive altar features Saints Peter and Paul shaking hands before they went off to their martyrdom. At the top, they are seen triumphant in heaven.


The church terrace offered beautiful views of the town of Melk.


(By the way: You may be experiencing deja vu if you followed our Viking cruise blog from 2016, for nothing has changed.)

Once our abbey tour was complete, we had the option to wander down the hill and walk through the charming town of Melk. There are small shops and restaurants along the main street, most of them closed for the winter.


Welcome back to the ship!


By 11:30, we were back onboard to warm up and enjoy lunch as we sailed to Dürnstein.


Bo provided narration of our scenic cruising.


Situated in the heart of the Wachau Valley, we are docked at Spitz. We took a brief bus ride to the charming town of Dürnstein, a medieval town with 87 residents that is new to us. Our AMA itinerary promised a "unique combination of breathtaking scenery, traditional architecture, and places of historic interest."

Dürnstein's medieval cobblestone streets are lined with 16th-century townhouses and lots of wine taverns (finally). As we are so early in the season, many are closed...but we were able to accomplish a bit of shopping.


Check out the blue facade of Dürnstein’s famed church cloister tower, considered the most beautiful of its kind in all of Austria. It is so striking that I photographed it when we cruised down the Danube with Viking without knowing anything about it. Some history: Dürnstein Abbey (Stift Dürnstein) was established in 1410 and was rebuilt in a Baroque style in 1710. The monastery was dissolved by order of Emperor Joseph II in 1788 and fell into disarray, until renovation began in 1980.


Dürnstein’s Town Hall was set up in 1547.


High above the town are the ruins of Castle Kuernriger (Schloß Kürnriger) where Richard the Lion-Hearted, King of England, was held prisoner for a year while returning from a Crusade. The ransom paid for his release (estimated to be worth 7 billion in current USD) was used to build the city walls of Vienna.


Here is a former abbey.


The pillory in Town Square is where the local offenders were shackled and shamed for their offenses. Our guide described it as the social media of the Middle Ages.


At 5:45, our AmaWaterways guide brought us to the historic Klosterhof, the former wine press house of St. Gottweig Abbey, a working Benedictine abbey that is over one thousand years old. It's located on top of a mountain overlooking Krems - with beautiful views.

This Wachau Valley wine estate, which dates back to the 12th century, hosted a wine tasting for us, with entertainment by local musicians.


For dinner tonight, a French chef was invited onboard to create a special Valentine's Day dinner.


One of our tablemates was celebrating a birthday, so this came to the table.


Another delightful day.

Photos are tagged Magna, Spitz and Melk_2024

This featured blog entry was written by Cybercsp from the blog AmaWaterways Magna.
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By Cybercsp

Posted Wed, Feb 14, 2024 | Austria | Comments