A June 2001 trip
to Melk by Barb B
Quote: After four days and three nights in Vienna with Round-the-Clock Sightseeing and Adventures, my husband and I were looking forward to a quieter, gentlier town. As we drove through the stunning scenery of the Wachau wine region, we realized that Melk was perfect!
Tranquil bicycle paths criss-cross the countryside and provide a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the Big-City-Experience of Vienna. Many hotels have bicycles which guests can use during their stay.
We found cheerful wine shops hidden along the city's back streets. Shop owners were delightfully friendly and offered sample tastings and explanations of the local wine varieties.
When we are on holiday, we like to buy "souvenir wines" that we can sip throughout our trip. That way we don't have to bother carrying them home and--The Memory is the same!
Each day, thousands of tourists flock to the city of Melk to visit the World-famous Monastery; therefore, we planned our two nights stay in the village of Emmersdorf, just across the Danube from Melk. I felt like "Goldilocks" while choosing the hotel for our stay in this romantic little town; one hotel was too big, one was too small and one was just right!
The Hotel Donauhof is a quiet, cozy, family-run hotel right on the banks of the Danube. Our second floor room afforded a superb view of the picturesque village and the steep hills terraced with vineyards and gnarled ruins of ancient castles. All rooms have private bath with shower, hairdryer, satellite TV, clock radio, direct-dial phone, mini bar and CD player. Just like home! Rooms here are very large, with a desk and comfy sitting area.
The relaxed lobby with fireplace and bar, as well as the lovely view of the Abbey from the terrace, complemented the easy-going atmosphere. The excellent restaurant presents a marvelous array of regional specialties and we were delighted to find an expansive choice of vegetarian creations.
Double rooms here average about $80-90 US dollars per night. Bikes are available to rent and the Hotel has several "package deals" and excursion rates.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 6, 2001
The city of Emmersdorf is frequently called the "cycle village" of the Wachau Valley.
Centuries ago, narrow terraces were hewn into the slopes alongside the Danube. That narrow valley between Melk and Krems is known as the Wachau region and its unique climate and geological conditions combine to provide ideal conditions for grape varietals which have been cultivated here over the centuries. The scenic background of the vertical vineyards and wide, unencumbered bike trails on fairly flat terrain made for a pleasant bike tour -- even for us "older folks".
Some hotels have bikes that guests can borrow without cost, but if yours does not, you can rent one by the day or by the hour from Tourismus, located at3644 Emmersdorf. The cost ranges from about $6.50-$14 a day. An organized excursion of about 20 KM is also available, but if you are feeling adventurous, or if you just want to travel at your own pace, you can get a cycle tour map from the information center and set out on your own -- as we did.
My husband Dutch and I made our first stop at a convenient grocery shop in Melk. We bought fresh fruits and juices to carry with us. (We also grabbed a few bars of German chocolate bars, just in case of "energy deprivation"). Adequately fortified, we started out on our venture. We decided to ride the East Side of the river because we wanted to visit the town of Durnstein where King Richard the Lionhearted is said to have been a prisoner. His release was only granted upon payment of an enormous ransom.
We really enjoyed walking the streets and visiting the shops in the little town of Wiesenkirchen. It is a delightful wine village with a lovely river promenade, an old fortified church and an interesting museum. The scenery is lovely throughout the area and you will discover beautiful 16th century houses and inns where you can taste the Heuriger or current year‘s wines. If time and energy permit, a stop at the Vinothek Winery may be the highlight of your ride. Josef Pichler has used brick to create a cool and pleasing wine chamber where you can sample the best wines of the Wachau Valley as well as several imported wines.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 7, 2001
Biking in the Wachau Region
From Melk to Krems, Austria
Attraction | "Wein & Wachau Gottwald"
In the year 1301 a man named Ritzling, whose vineyards were near the Danube, planted grapes which he cultivated into Germany's Rhineland and then brought back to Austria under the name Riesling. Today more than 1,000 winegrowers belong to the Wachau cooperative and their headquarters is located in a 1719 castle outside the city of Dümstein near Melk.
Ursula Hackl, our "Wein Verkauf" (wine buyer/seller) was extremely knowledgeable about the local wines and patiently described the numerous varieties of the area. Since we live in California’s Napa Valley, we find a special pleasure in discovering satisfying wines during our European visits. We like to enjoy our "Souvenir wines" along the way. By sipping our souvenirs throughout the trip, we don’t have extra baggage to take home. We purchased 3 bottles of tasty Austrian wines and a remarkable German-made corkscrew to add to our corkscrew collection.
The Shop offers wine seminars throughout the year and has a tastefully decorated sales room and art display above the shop. Located just a few steps off the Main thoroughfare at 5 Kirchengasse, 3390 Melk, Austria. You can visit their beautiful website at - www.weinundwachau.at
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 2, 2001
Wein & Wachau Gottwald
Attraction | "The Melk Abbey"
Atop the sheer granite cliffs rising beside the Danube, the dramatic 900 year old Baroque Abbey at Melk presents a spectacular view to approaching tourists. Originally a Roman border post and later a fortress for the reigning Babenberg family, today this Benedictine Monastery is one of Austria’s most prestigious academic institutions housing over 700 students.
You can stroll through the Abbey’s numerous courtyards, visit the impressive church and go into the shops and restaurant without cost. However, I recommend that you take a tour. The interesting tidbits of information you’ll receive about the history are well worth the modest cost of about $3.50.
The high points of the tour are the Library, the Marble Hall, the Church and the Museum:
The Library contains richly carved wooden shelves from floor to ceiling housing beautifully rebound leather and gold leaf books from the 18th century. The frescoed ceiling of angels, cherubs and other celestial beings has not been repainted in its 270 years, thanks to the library‘s lack of heating and lighting.
The Marble Hall displays the artist Paul Troger’s superb handling of perspective. The ceiling fresco appears curved and makes the room appear much larger; however, it is actually flat.
The Museum houses many precious relics and treasures of the Monastery including The Melk Cross (a 14th century gem-encrusted cross which contains a relic of the cross of Christ).
The Church with carved marble pillars, stunning gold pulpit and elegantly frescoed ceiling is definitely not a modest little chapel!
The Abbey is open daily from 9am to 5pm (until 6pm May until September). A small gift shop offers moderately priced items, but skip the restaurant and save you appettite for a stop at a stube or gasthaus in town.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 4, 2001
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