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Monday, May 16, 2016

Day 15, April 5, Melk Abbey, Krems and Wachau Valley Cruising, Part I

The day starts early with boarding the tour bus by 8:45 AM.  There are so many of us Viking tourists, the Abbey has requested the groups come at two different times.  That is great as it makes it a little easier to lag back and get photos without a bunch of people in the way.  It did not quite work that way but we still managed some pretty good shots.

Physic!  That was a wrong button post ; )  Let's give it another shot.

That's the one!  Entrance to a Benedictine Abbey named Melk Abbey or Stift Melk.  In 976 Leopold I began using the castle as his home.A little over 100 years later Leopold II gave (thus the Stift word) to the Benedictine monks from Lambach.  The monks have lived and worked here ever since.  Who wouldn't, nice digs.

Actually, it is quite beautiful but parts of it are not stuck in the baroque past.

As part of the experience of the abbey, one is reminded this is an active monastic sight.  Monks will be in prayers at times.  A word is whispered over the sound system to remind us to listen.  A breathy voice says,  'höre'.  This is in addition to some extremely creative visual and physical effects.

We walk through a series of up and down sloping areas.  A violet light gives a feeling of the need for silence and respect.  A second room has a video being shown on the walls in a way that makes one feel you are in the center of the scene.  Add to this the sculptures of what appear to be mummies protruding from the walls and not your usual monastery.  The modern turn may be a result of the monastery having a school since the 1200's.

It was so interesting seeing the juxtaposition to all the artifacts of the monastic museum to the modern settings in these series of rooms.  The guide assured us there were only about 4 kilo of gold leaf used within all the monastery.  There are relics, which are bones, of saints on display.  Robes weighing about 150 lbs still used in ceremonies to this day.  Crosses and all sorts of other golden goblets, staffs and things pertaining to rituals.  And then the reusable coffin to save money at some point in the past.

If there is not enough glimmer already there are mirrors to reflect all the beauty of the museum pieces.  Under lying all this is the beauty of wooden inlaid floors.  One display has the humble tools used to build Melk.

And that is the first 20 minutes of the tour.  There are lavish rooms with beautifully gilded areas, fresco covered ceilings and the word, 'höre' to remind us of the monks.

I made multiple, successive shots in an attempt to get at least a portion of the vaulted ceiling.  And the magnitude of the room.  And BTW the sloped portion is an artistic illusion.  Only about 4 or 5 feet of the ceiling is sloped, the rest is flat.

This doorway is about 12 ft. tall
 Each entrance was flanked by faux marble pillars.  Only because real marble was too heavy.  And the faux finish was more expensive than the real thing. From this room we step onto the balcony that bridges to the library wing.
Regular folks below....

Before entering the library all cameras are put away as well as cell phones.  No photos due to the sensitive in on all the ancient books.  A few are opened in sealed boxes.  I cannot read a word.  Some I do not even recognize the lettering.  The ceilings are again covered in frescoes.  No photos, but there was a picture of the ceiling outside the room so snap!

We go through a doorway to descend a flight of stairs.  Someone with a sense of humor tried to make us think it was about 1000 ft of stairs.  You can see Hubby n me in the mirror at the bottom : /

Now it is just past prayer time as we enter the chapel of the monastery.   But out come the cameras and quitely the scene is recorded.

Another stunning room.... with this in the center of the entrance to celebrate the natural world:

We have time to visit the interior courtyard outside the chapel.  A couple of shots and it is off to the loo and gift shop.  Back to the bus to eliminate too many slopes and stairs.  Riding back to the river to meet the boat.  We had left the boat at one location so once again we are waiting for the boat to arrive.  I am going to close this part of the day's events and have a second post as there is still more to see sailing and in Krems.

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