Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day along the Danube

On our first full day in Vienna, we left the city for the country. We had good weather so we took the opportunity for a train ride into the Danube River valley and a scenic river cruise. Our destination was Melk, a small town that has a huge golden Benedictine abbey perched above it. The abbey was beautiful- impressive library, amazing ceiling frescoes and breath-taking Baroque church in which almost everything was gilded. The village was quaint and we sat outside and ate a traditional Austrian lunch. In the afternoon we boarded a boat that took us downriver. We sipped local white wine as we floated past castle ruins, picturesque churchs, lovely forests and more quaint villages tucked between the river and steep vineyard-covered hills. We landed in Krems, where we happened upon a local festival that included music, food, beer and wine, and lots of traditional costumes. It was an unexpected delight. We wandered the narrow winding streets, noting homes built in the 1500s, and found a place to eat dinner al fresco. By the time we boarded the train back to Vienna at 9:00 PM we were exhausted but happy. A very good first day!

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