Helmut, our tour guide, and Nancy. He’s an Austrian and right at home for the past few days.
Chip and Adrian, the trainee from Budapest…he’s trying to help her in any way…appropriate.
Monday morning found us in a new port after some overnight locks and motoring up the Danube. The name of the town – Durnstein – is on the bow of this sleek looking craft.
Fog was sitting atop the mountains around us. There’s a school-boat moored down the road to Durnstein…must bring kids from across the river to their school on this side. Really small town.
Here’s the local brewery. The straw wreath signifies the beer places in Austria.
The town contains a bunch of typical shops adorned with signs that are easily understood.
But, the town square includes the pillory where bad behavior is punished. Unfortunately, Miller had acted up the night before and was still here in the morning when we arrived. (His pals cut him down later.)
Joe’s rehabilitation was so successful that the tour guide appointed him as the official assistant, which meant he got to hold our color-coded group sign in the main courtyard as we approached our afternoon destination at the Benedictine Abbey in Melk, Austria.
The sun came out as we toured this Abbey and kept intact a record for just-about-perfect touring days…layers are the way to go – Pam is the master of this technique; she has 4 layers most days and wears three of them around her waist by the afternoon.
Except for the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, this is the most lavish and largest place we have seen. Quite unusual, given the vow of poverty taken by all of these monks. The first visitors were those monsters of excess – Maria Theresa and her husband.
Their portraits were in the main hallway. The Abbey complex loomed over the little town….here’s a model and a photo.
As we looked back at the magnificent castle-like Abbey, we saw another incongruous icon – the local Chinese Restaurant.
So, on to Germany and Tuesday and the the coach tour into the Czech Republic to see a fully preserved town form the middle ages and the 18th century – Cesky Krumlov.
Here is some fog in the foothills as we drove up toward the continental divide in Austria…just before the Czech border. The western side of the divide drains to the Danube, the eastern side to the Rhine (? I think). Barbara, our tour guide speaks to us (somewhat interminably) on our 100 minute drive to our destination. The preserved town of Krumlov is astounding. There is actually a church that we did NOT tour.
We entered the gate and appreciated the renovated, tiny streets of a real village with real merchants.
Each place was vibrant with activity and quality merchandise.
We found a place for lunch right on the river banks (the town name means “bend in the river”.
The place is a post-1989 rebuilding of a decrepit place, ignored by the Communist regime and financed by wealthy entrepreneurial restoration professionals. Our guide showed us some places that had not been restored yet and a place where the waterline is marked by a dotted blue line from a recent Danube flood in the early 2000’s.
Cesky refers to the fact that we are in the Czech Republic as there is another Krumlov in Poland. The name is all over.
As we relaxed and waited for our return bus trip, we realized that Shifty Miller had a hitch in his giddy up.
We left with amazement at the enormity of this restoration and some views of the scope of the place.
Peace is a little S-Nap (a new term for short nap…coined by the Strohmeyers…masters of that game) and a view from the boat at the foot of your bed as the boat pulls out of Passau, Germany on its way overnight to Regensburg, Germany in Bavaria.
More to come from Germany later.