Our first sunny day since boarding the ship was today, Christmas Eve. We started our tour this morning by venturing to the Melk Abbey. The Abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II gave one of his castles to the Benedictine monks. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times and the current beautiful architecture dates to the18th century. It is a high school now for over 900 students. We have had wonderful guides who have been so knowledgeable in the history and share so many great side stories.
During the Christmas Eve lunch and a decadent ice cream party in the lounge (Plus wine of course), we sailed through the Wachau Valley. The valley is beautiful, with apricot orchards, steep terraced vineyards and medieval villages. PS, the wine has been excellent.
The “Pearl of the Wachau” is the town of Durnstein, with an unusual blue façade monastic church and the ruins of a castle fortress high above the town. This wonderful cruising time was our first quiet time on this trip, and very much enjoyed it. Christmas Eve evening was exchanging gifts, a lovely meal and wonderful conversation.