Day 11: Monday, September 21

Day Tripping: Melk, The Danube and Krems

Today’s out of town excursion: we are travelling from Vienna to Melk via train, then Melk to Krems via boat on the Danube river, then Krems back to Vienna via rail.

We were up very early today, my iPod Touch alarm ringing madly at the ungodly hour of 6:30AM! We showered, breakfasted, and were out the door by 7:45AM.

We started our journey at Hernals station where we each purchased a weekly transit pass from the machine. From there we boarded the S-Bahn, went to Ottakring station, then boarded the U-Bahn to the Westbahnhof where we were to catch our train for Melk. At the Westbahnhof, we first went to the OBB (the national railway system of Austria) ticket office and bought a combi-ticket for the trip. This came to €102.00 for both of us, with admission to Melk Abbey included in the price of the ticket. We located the correct platform and boarded the train when it came in – this carriage was sweet!

Arriving In Melk

It took about an hour and a half to get to Melk. Once there we disembarked and walked around a little to see what Melk had to offer:

We paused for coffee and sandwiches at a lovely little eatery called Madar Cafe Central. It was centrally located in what appeared to be a small town square or platz. Very nice atmosphere and service. We were served by a lovely Austrian lady who was very kind. We had a bit of a communication problem though – when I asked for more hot water for my tea, she misunderstood and brought me a glass of cold tap water.  Vince, speaking his best university German, rectified this with the lady and it was corrected. We each had a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, which was utterly delicious. I had black tea and my usual still water; Vince had a cappuccino with his usual sparkling water. We left the cafe feeling quite fortified for the sites ahead.

Melk Abbey

We proceeded up the hill to the fantastic Melk Abbey. Melk Abbey is a Benedictine abbey poised on a rocky outcrop above the town of Melk, overlooking the Danube river. The abbey contains the tomb of Saint Coloman of Stockerau and the remains of several members of the House of Babenberg, Austria’s first ruling dynasty.

We entered the abbey using our included ticket. It took a couple of hours to completely tour the Abbey – it was quite fantastic and absolutely gorgeous. So far in this Vienna trip, I thought I’d seen all the bling one could possibly see, but Melk Abbey out-blinged everything so far:

We exited the Abbey and walked over to the balcony to check out some of the building’s exterior and the green Wachau Valley:

Melk and the Wachau Valley, from the Abbey’s balcony:

And… a bonus video:

We then did a quick spin through the Stiftspark (Abbey Park)

… then left Melk Abbey.

Cruising Down The Danube

We made our way to Melk’s boat dock to catch the next cruise down the Danube River to Krems:

Catching the Prinz Eugen for a sail down the Danube to Krems

It was an enormous queue waiting to board but it moved quite quickly and we were shortly on the boat. It was an absolutely lovely cruise down the Danube, and we each took a lot of pictures. Simply beautiful:

On the way the boat had a stopover in picturesque Dürnstein, but we chose to stay on board and just soak in the sites:

Here’s a short video of some of the Danube cruise:

Krems

After leaving Dürnstein we reached Krems in about 2 hours:

We explored around the town a bit:

We came upon the Karikaturmuseum (Caricature Museum). It looked very interesting and probably was a lot of fun, but unfortunately was closed:

Time To Eat!

Where we had lunch in Krems

During our wandering of this new town, we discovered a promising eatery called the Brauhof Restaurant and decided to give it a go. It was patio seating, and we were the only ones there. The patio had the look of a beer garden, which I’m sure is what it is when customers are there. Regardless, we placed our order with the friendly waiter: Vince had the Weiner Schnitzel with a funky potato salad accompaniment, and I had a pork chop smothered in garlic sauce accompanied by fried potatoes. We lingered a long time here as the food was so good and the vibe was so relaxing. Vince claims he had the best cappuccino EVER at this restaurant!!!

After dinner we wandered around Krems a little more but it was starting to get dark already (was about 6:00PM):

It had been a very full day and it was time to head home, so we made our way to the OBB train station to catch the 7:02 back to the Franz Josef Bahnhof in Vienna. The train arrived and we boarded for the very pleasant trip back to Vienna.

Once back in Vienna we got off at Heiliegenstadt station; there we were able to catch the S45 S-Bahn back to Hernals station. Leaving Hernals, we reached home base at about 9:30PM. We rested for a while, then off to bed at about 10:00 – it had been a huge day!

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