Slept until 7:42...unusual for me, just as the ship is entering the Wauchau Valley, famous for its monasteries and vineyards (a king gave the entire valley to two abbeys in the middle ages). Had “breakfast” on the patio at the very front of the ship. Beautiful morning, beautiful views.
I'm getting to know quite a few people, many more who remember my name, unfortunately, than I theirs.
I'm falling behind both in blogs and posting photos, but hope to catch up a bit today. Too bad I can't just have a visual recorder inserted into my head.
11:30 arrived at Melk. Tour of the abbey, one of the wealthiest in Europe, begins around 2:30. There is a “Taste of Austria” going on on the sun deck. I am not there because I doubt there's anything there I can eat.
12:15 Did go up to the sun deck and, as I'd expected, they've gone all out. Bavarian costumes, an astonishing assortment of foods—all of which looked fantastic; Austrian beer, a roving accordion player in native costume. Yet another time when I was sorely tempted to feel terribly sorry for myself for being unable to eat like everyone else.
12:59 Grateful for the wait for the tour, to get a chance to catch up on postings, emails, etc. Notice a lot of kayakers moving past. No idea where they're from or where they're going, but the river current is quite swift, and I can't see paddling against it.
1:30 Call to board buses for Melk Abbey.
3:30 Back. Interesting tour, gigantic abbey. 1,000 years old, one of the largest in Europe. Only 30 monks live there now, and part of the abbey is a private school. Typical catholic excessively ornate (I know...all that money was intended to glorify God, but there is enough wealth there to feed the continent of Africa.) Another very warm day...sticky warm. The interior of the abbey, with the exception of the church, was only slightly cooler than the outside temps. We had a choice of coming back on the bus or walking through the town of Melk. I chose the latter. Pleasant little town. Another lesson relearned on the way...because it was so hot I wanted a coke. Because I cannot lift my head far enough to drink more than a few sips from a bottle, I asked for a straw. And learned that I have lost the ability to sip through a straw. My mouth is so screwed up, I cannot create the proper suction. Well, I managed to get enough liquid to last me until I got back to the ship.
4:20 A call to the lounge to learn how to make apple strudel. I think it's a plot against me.
5:00 Left Melk for Passau.
5:30 Through second set of locks since Budapest.
6:31 Awaiting 7:00 dinner. I missed lunch today entirely. No big deal...I wouldn't have eaten much anyway.
8:50 Back from “dinner.” Joined tonight by a very wealthy couple from Dubai who talk casually of 31 day cruises around South America, having 3 houses, each with 3 maids, weekending in Singapore, etc. I didn't tell them I live in a one bedroom apartment with a cat.
Now to post this blog and get the photos ready, though I probably won't post them until tomorrow.
Dorien is posting regular blogs of his European River Cruise adventures. Pictures are posted on Facebook, which is the only place able to accommodate so many. And please visit his website at www.doriengrey.com