Friday October 14 - Day 24
14.10.2011 - 14.10.2011 8 °C
Woke to an early morning view of small villages and the outline of churches. A cold start of 0 degrees. Moored 3 boats out at Durnstein -a small Austrian village in the Wachau Valley between Melk and Krems. Steep wooded hills with terraced vines and orchards line both sides of the valley.
Famous for being where Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned by Leopoldo V of Austria when he was returning from the Third Crusade. The Augustinian Abbey with a blue and white tower was completed in 1725 and the main street of small shops are a feature of the village. Many of the houses date back to the 16th C. The ruined castle on the hill (Kuenringerburg) was begun in 1200 so cannot be the fortress where Richard I was imprisoned. It was seriously damaged by Swedish troops in 1645 during the Thirty Years War. Garry walked to the top in the hope of getting some panoramic shots of the castle battlements. Disappointed from that perspective but great views back out over the two valleys feeding into the river.
Margy completed the 33 km bike ride between Durnstein and Melk, the rest of us sat in the lounge wine tasting and watching the world go by. After lunch we toured the Melk Abbey above the river. The Romans built a fortress here 2000 years ago. This was handed over to the Benedictine monks about 950. Another example of Baroque opulence with more gold and marble to illustrate the ridiculous wealth and influence of the Catholic Church.
Enjoyed the walk back to the boat. The food continues to be of high quality and the local wines are served in large quantities by the Hungarian waiters.