Thursday, July 5, 2007

Melk Stift, aka: the Humongous Golden Abbey

Hi Everyone,
I just spent two days in a small town called Melk (look it up on the web for more info). I heard about this giant Abbey, with a long and convoluted past, so I just had to go. You know, everything is just a train ride away here. So, I stayed in a cute little hotel smack in the center of town and the next day I spent several hours wandering around Melk Abbey. First, by myself, and then with a group tour given in English. The library was what impressed me the most. About 100,000 volumes in several rooms, only one of which the public is allowed to visit. But, believe me my camera was working overtime. Seems there´s got to be some juicy stories behind this Abbey. I was told that it was the Abbey that was prominent in Umberto Eco´s "The Name of the Rose." Wow. It´s been all dolled up now, very Baroque....tons of gold and marble and the chapel alone would be worth enough to feed at least three starving nations in Africa. So much for my take on the opulence of the Church. The Benedictine Order has been here for centuries, along with the benevolence of the Babenburgs and the Hapsburgs. Church and State, hand in sweet white hand. But, that´s in the past, right? We´ve solved all our social/economical problems, haven´t we? Hmmm....

Okay, so, after leaving Melk (and a wonderful view of the Danube...not Blue by the way, but a murky soft green) I took a relaxing train ride to Salzburg...a mere 2 and half hours. But, the green rolling countryside was a welcome sight. And, the houses and fields dotting the hills on each side were something out of a storybook, like Hansel and Gretel. Really. Think of deep woods, then fields of sunflowers and wheat, then an old chapel set high on a green hill, throw in a few white and timber two story houses with red geraniums hanging off the windows and you have the Austrian countryside. Voila!

I will be heading off to Ubergossene Alm Spa tomorrow...the last three nights of my journey before I head back to Belgium to spend time with Kellee, my daughter. If you want to eat your hearts out, just Google the name of the Spa. But, you will also see that it isn´t that expensive, specially because the price includes all the food I could possibly eat.
Love to All my Friends and Family....till my next post.

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