Krems, Austria. November 10, 2022

Our half-day stop at Krems, Austria includes a visit to Gottweig Abbey, a Benedictine monastery founded in the 11th century. It has a spectacular setting perched high on a hill overlooking the Wachau Valley and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Gottweig Abbey ( thanks for the picture Wikipedia)

The current Abbey is mostly rebuilt after a fire in the early 1700s. So it is pretty baroque. It was intended to be even fancier than it is now but due to a shortfall in financing there are a lot of faux features. For instance many of the exterior windows are just painted on and not real windows at all. There is also quite a bit of painted on marble made to imitate the real thing.

This little chapel is the only part of the complex that is original.

While we are getting organized our group takes a look at the Wauchau Valley. The Abbey owns all the forests and much arable land used for growing grapes. The priests service the local churches and the Abbey is used for education, tourism (you can rent a room!), and the monastic life of the brothers. There are about 30 of them living there currently.

Wachau Valley
Sarah and I amuse ourselves with a selfie while we wait

Once inside we are shown the interior of the church. Our guide points out various cost-cutting in the sanctuary.

Altar in Gottweig Abbey church. Lots of faux marble.

We also get to see the famous ceiling fresco painted by Paul Troger in 1739. Emperor Charles VI represents the god, Apollo in the center. The fresco stretches over the grand staircase. It seems rather secular to me.

Paul Troger fresco

Now we have free time to wander down to the gift shop for a buying opportunity. There are bottles of the Abbey’s wine which we are encouraged to sample. There are also lots of religious and non-religious tchotchkes for purchase. Sarah and I go outside and amuse ourselves with another selfie.

Sarah and Mary with parking lot and Wachau Valley backdrop.

We get back to boat around noon and have lunch. We are leaving Krems for Linz around 1PM so there is no time for poking around Krems. Later in the afternoon there is a tea which we attend. I do enjoy the little sandwiches!

Tea with scones, little sandwiches and dessert-y things

Later we have an Austrian/German kind of dinner with charcuterie and cheese boards, sauerbraten which includes sausage and fried chicken (?), and giant soft pretzels. It was kind of hit or miss.

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