Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four – Melk and Dürnstein

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four

Melk

On the morning of day four of our Danube River cruise, we arrived in Melk, Austria around 7:30 in the morning. After a hearty breakfast, we were all on buses to Melk Abbey around 9am; the drive was only about 10 minutes. We were all armed with our portable receivers to hear the tour.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II gave one of his castles to the Benedictine monks. The monks began a monastic school and its library became famous for its extensive collection; they also were renowned for producing manuscripts. The abbey survived dissolution in the late 1700’s and also managed to survive the Napoleonic Wars. It was confiscated by the state in WWII but returned to the Benedictines after the war. Today it is also a co-ed school that caters to nearly 900 students.

Our guide was a former student of the school. We began in the large courtyard (see above, it’s the one with the fountain), and that was the last place we were allowed to take photos until we were outside again.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

Melk Abbey Courtyard

The tour took us down the half the length of the southern hallway through many displays until we came out to the viewing balcony overlooking the town.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

Melk

Once we circled the balcony we were back indoors and circled down into the church itself. We were very lucky to hear a magnificent choir as there was a service going on as we filtered out of the abbey.

The Wachau Valley

Once back to where the ship was docked we stopped at a great little café overlooking the river, the Fährhaus Jensch, where we relaxed on the patio with a beverage until lunchtime on the ship. Some of our fellow travellers left from Melk on a bike tour to our next destination, Dürnstein, approximately 30 kilometres away (18 miles). We did not feel that adventurous and opted for the relaxing and scenic cruise through the Wachau Valley.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

Wachau Valley

Along the way, we encountered Die Wachauer Nase, a sculpture that looks like a giant nose poking out of the ground. It is supposedly a compilation of local noses to find the archetypal nose of a local Wachauan. The nostrils are big enough to walk into if you so choose.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

Die Wachauer Nase

Dürnstein

We arrived in Dürnstein around 2:30 and at 3pm we had an apricot product tasting in the Horizon Lounge. The Wachau Valley is famous for its apricots and apricot products, and rightly so. We consumed and enjoyed schnapps, jam, chutney, and chocolate covered fruit.

Dürnstein is named for the castle overlooking the town. In 1192 King Richard the Lionheart was held captive there by the Duke of Austria during the Third Crusade. Sadly, the castle was almost completely destroyed by the armies of the Swedish Empire in 1645.

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

Dürnstein with Dürnstein Castle ruins on the hill

At 4pm those who wanted to participate in a hiking tour up to the castle ruins gathered to go. Mike decided he wanted to, I did not. In my defence, it was a really hot day and the beer was really cold. Can you blame me?

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

View from the castle ruins

Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

Castle ruins

That evening after dinner was the Crew Show, a very funny, occasionally awkward, but overall not to be missed. We wrapped up the evening with a whole lot of disco music and dancing which was quite a show unto itself.

Stay tuned for Day Five, Vienna, Austria!

Did you miss Day Three, Passau and Linz?

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Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Four - Melk and Dürnstein

Comments 17

  1. The apricot tasting sounds delicious! I love how they were able to use apricot in so many different types of products. That giant nose is so bizarre! Did you crawl inside the nostril? Can’t wait to read about the rest of your trip!

  2. This is a really interesting and beautiful post. As Austrian, I know that this area is not too known by tourists but Melk and the area around it are so beautiful. I have always wanted to go see the library in the monastery, haven’t managed to do it so far but it’s definitely on the list now 🙂

  3. I really think the best part of Austria is its stunning countryside. I’ve been to Vienna and Salzburg but have yet to explore further afield. And while those cities are perfectly nice, this is exactly the kind of place I’d love to visit!

  4. Wow it looks like there is a lot to see though, I think I’d be creeped out walking in the nostrils of the sculpture. Eeek so interesting and different! I bet the schnapps tasted amazing too!

  5. Haha that nose is a bit odd but seems fun! The castle ruins looks great – I’d love to do that hike but the view of it from below is awesome too. I can understand not wanting to go up there when it’s too hot :p

  6. Durnstein sounds amazing, and I’m definitely jealous of all the apricot products you tried! Apricots are my favorite fruit! The nose statue was strange, but I’d love to see it as well! I’m sure it’s a great opportunity for some funny photos

  7. Would love to explore Austria. Salzburg was one place I wanted to visit so bad and now Melk is added to that list 🙂 Thanks for fueling my wanderlust (As if it needed any lol) ;p

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