It’s certainly a rare day during an IM Tour when I can breathe out and finally call it a vacation. Don’t get me wrong the sites and places we visit are amazing and unique, but the tempo can make it seem more like we’re running a marathon.
It’s especially wonderful when that relaxed feeling is coupled with a charming inn in a small countryside town such as Emmersdorf an der Donau. The inn that we were staying in was luxuriously large and overlooked a nearby river. Though the large number of insects did cause many to take shelter inside, I loved the chance to sit by the rocks and take in the view.
Austria’s countryside is its own marvel. I don’t usually appreciate the countryside and prefer to block it all out with a pair of headphones and a nap, but I guess the sheer amount of nature on this trip forced me to finally look around. And you know what? I think I’ve fallen in love.
Waking up from a relaxed stay in the quiet town, we were prepared for the day’s events. It was just a short ride to our first stop in the town of Melk. Located in Melk is a Benedictine Abbey, named Melk Abbey – not the most creative name, but seems like a logical choice. It houses the remains of several members of the House of Babenberg, Austria’s first ruling dynasty. The abbey is famous for its extensive collection of manuscripts it houses in its library.
It has the largest library, relating to the Christian church, in the world, with over 80,000 volumes located under a beautifully frescoed ceiling. Today it still functions as a school and an abbey located on a rocky cliff over the Danube River. Personally I don’t know how well I’d do in school if I attended this place. I’d probably be too distracted by the sheer grandness in its architecture.
The overall building is a unique shade of pale yellow, whereas the interior highlights the use of red marble. The museum holds numerous religious artifacts, including the Pope’s wardrobe and a bejeweled cross. The inside of the church, the library, and the Marble Hall are all features of the Melk Abbey you want to see. From its balcony you may also see an overlooking view of Melk. But in the end I knew our relaxed pause was coming to an end. Get ready for things to speed up again as we make our way towards Salzburg.