Category: ‘Travels’

Donau Walzer: Dürnstein

April 21, 2014 Posted by suefairview

After the ship was docked, we all walked up to tour the story-book town of Dürnstein, population 900. It doesn’t get any cuter or quainter than this little Austrian town. We walked up to the family cemetery, which was all in bloom with spring flowers and is famous for its ossuary.

Back in the town, folks were drinking at an open air tavern. The charming main street was clogged with tourists. Little side streets had stone steps to accomodate the rise in elevation. Another shot of Main St. Dürnstien is in a microclimate that allows for apricots to be grown. Thus, shops sell apricot products of all kinds: candles, soaps and liquors. This shop had all of the apricot boozes one could want. They even had free apricot schnapps and liqueur for tasting. I, who never drink because of the medication I am on, actually tasted a shot of each. Man did I get wasted! LOL! My mom did the same, so we wove our way through the rest of the town. Here is a shot of a look out from one of the many high-points of the town. Here is the entry to the abbey and the abbey’s square. One had to pay an exorbitant amount to enter; so we didn’t.

We ran into this beautiful and obedient German Shepherd dog and I couldn’t help but take his photo.

I also saw a sculler and took many shots with my motordrive camera so that one can see a full stroke.

Next stop: Vienna!

Donau Walzer: Wachau tal und Dürnstein

April 20, 2014 Posted by suefairview

We had only spent only a half day at Melk, so in the afternoon, we cast off for Dürnstein. We cruised up the Wachau valley, which is dotted on both sides by ancient castles and churches. I live on a river myself and am fascinated by life on a river. So, the next ten photos are of those things. Note the small children on the beach and the fisherman as well. On the 11th photo we can see the blue tower of the Baroque Dürnstein Abbey. The medieval castle, Burgruine Dürnstein, is actually visable in the 10th photo. This is where King Richard I Lionheart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V of Austria after their dispute during the Third Crusade. There are around 8 photos of the Abbey tower and town.

This was the first chance I had to see the crew mooring the ship and took some photos and I realize that this part will only be of interest to the boat afficiandos out there. The captain looks on as a mate brings the ship in to the docking space. A closeup of the controls. A crew member waits to toss the line. The ashore crew waits to retrieve the line. The line is tossed! The ashore crew heads to pick up the line. He’s got it! He clears a branch out of the way. The line is pulled up onto shore, and landed. Same thing. The line is pulled over to the halburk. Another crewmember takes a second line to the other halburk. The boat is secure! Most of the operational crew on the ship, are from Hungary.

Next time, we explore the tiny town of Dürnstein!

Donau Walzer: Melk 2

April 19, 2014 Posted by suefairview

Actual date: April 2, 2014

Continuing our tour of Melk Abbey, apparently the Abbey has the longest hallway in the world. Here is a photo of a porcelain oven used to heat the rooms in the abbey. These are fed from the back. The marble hall is immense and imposing. There was no artificial light, yet it was bright with the daylight only, which entered the long side windows as well as the clearstory windows. Marble was in gray, red and yellow, decorated with gold leaf. Our tour guide is in the second photo. The third photo shows the amazing fresco on the ceiling of the marble room. Our tour group mills around the large room. The room was heated through this beautiful grill in the floor. Clearstory windows that join the room with the rest of the building opened up like butterfly wings. Two views from the balcony of the abbey are shown. Two views of the abbey from outside on the balcony. Two more views from the balcony of the abbey, one of which looks toward the Danube.

Now we are in the Melk Abbey church. Enough gold leaf for everyone???? The St. Michael altar (painting by Johann Michael Rottmayr, 1723). Note how the ballisters of the railing are the same as the Vatican and other churches build in the 1600′s. A closeup of the sarcophagus in the St. Michael altar. The chancel is ornate and covered in gold leaf. The organ at the rear of the church. A closeup of the main altar. The Coloman altar in the transept. A closeup of the ballisters in the railing. The St. John the Baptist altar (painting by J.M. Rottmayr, 1727). A closeup of the sarcophagus of the St. John altar. A closeup of the detail gold leaf work below the clearstory windows in the church.

We also toured the famous library, but photos were not allowed. More photos of Melk abbey can be seen here and they include the library.

Back outside, we decided to walk back down to the ship through the cute little town of Melk. Of course the abbey can be seen from everywhere in the town. We might have stopped at a café like this one, but the streets and sidewalks were completely torn up with construction, so much so, that it was even difficult to walk. As you can see, the abbey towers above the town. Construction even filtered down towards the canal. This little “Ferryman” tavern was right near where our ship was docked. The Viking Legend at mooring in Melk.

Next we sail for Dürnstein!

Donau Walzer: Melk

April 18, 2014 Posted by suefairview

We moored in Melk in order to tour Melk Abbey. The Abbey is built on a hill overlooking the town and can be seen from miles away. Our tour bus took us up the hill, saving us the walk. The first few photos are of the walk down to the Abbey and into it. The person holding up the number “4A” is our tour guide. She was a student and very knowledgable. The inside of the Abbey houses a museum crammed with treasures and paintings. Unfortunately, the lighting is horrible for photographs and no flash is allowed! Each room was lit a different color and the rooms were so dark! My photos are terribly out of focus and I apologize. Other photographers were having the same difficulties. But, there you are. I hope you can enjoy the photos anyhow.

The next post will have photos of the church and library.

Donau Walzer: Linz

April 17, 2014 Posted by suefairview

Overnight, the ship was moored in the industrial town of Linz, Austria. Most of the folks on the cruise were traveling on by tour bus to the town of Salzburg, where the Sound of Music was made and the birthplace of Mozart. My mom was going on that. But there was no accommodation for my nap on that full day excursion, so I decided to stay on and discover Linz.

Here is the first photo I took as I exited the ship. It is looking up river; note the buildings on both sides. The Lentos Art Museum is on the left and the glass building on the right is the Ars Electronica Center which was lit up at night. In this photo, in this distance, you can see the Pöstlingberg-Kirche: pilgrimage church on the Pöstlingberg hill. This photo looks back at the Viking Legend. A closer photo of the Lentos that shows that the patterns in the glass are made by printing the museum’s name on the glass. Another closeup. Another view that frames the glass building across the Danube. And one final view that frames an onion domed church across the river. Colorful spring flowers decorate the space in front of the high “Pestsäule” (“plague column“, also known as “Dreifaltigkeitssäule” (Dreifaltigkeit means Holy Trinity)) which was built to remember the people who died in the plague epidemics in the town square. A closer view of the column. A building in the square. A view of the St. Ignatius Cathedral, built by Jesuits in 1669-78, it has a fairly simple exterior with onion domed twin towers and the usual baroque excesses in the interior. A view down the street to St. Michael & Ursula Church. The door to St. Ignatius. Two solid marble statues of a woman are in use for a holy water fonts in the church. Yikes! Fancier than what is in Rome! The chancel was very ornate, too bad the photo is so dark. Again, my photo of the altar is too dark to appreciate how ornate it really is. However, the intricate woodwork on these pews can be clearly seen. Here is the other holy water font.

Outside the church this wooden tower was being buit and I have no idea what it was for.

This is a side altar in the St. Michael & Ursula Church. The chancel and main altar are in this photo. The chancel is still somewhat ornate. Another side altar. Looking up at the towers of the church. Whoever put in that airconditioner should be shot.

These are shoes in a store window. The kicks in the center are €200.

This might be a rectory, though it looks quite a bit like a church.

Walking away from St. Michael & Ursula.

A bishop’s residence is fronted by blooming magnolias and pollarded trees. It was erected in 1718-25 and has its own chapel. The New Cathedral [completed in 1924] can be seen when looking back towards town from the residence. Unfortunately I did not have the energy to visit it.

A view of the Elizabeth Church, built in 1763-68. This is of historical significance only. [?] But here are the altar and chancel of the church.

The Museum Francisco-Carolinum in a distance and closeup shot. A modern glass building that I liked the work on.

This wonderful glass hemidisk-shaped building held pride of place on the Danube’s banks. I have no idea what it was. But here is a second view.

Here is the Ars Electronica lit up at night. This photo leaves much to be desired.

The most exciting news of the day is that I finally found and purchased my lederhosen! There was a little shop and the people there were very nice. The lederhosen all fit me quite well! I also bought a pretty little blouse that was on sale for  €39! Here is the blouse, front and back and the lederhosen. They look really cute on!

Mom returned from the full day tour of Salzburg and said it was a tourist trap. But she went off on her own for lunch as had a terrific plate of schinkenfleckerl. I was very jealous!

Next our destination is Melk!