We had a bit of a bonus tour this weekend; on Saturday, we met up at the Institute, piled into a van, and headed out towards Melk. On the way, though, we took a bit of a pit-stop at the 1970s Museum.
On the way in, you pass by a playground, featuring the coolest playground equipment I’ve ever seen. It’s a dragon I am so jealous.
The museum is in a small castle;1 the courtyard has this nice bit of anachronism setting the mood.
To be honest, I didn’t get many pictures – the place was very crowded, since it’s apparently closed for the year as of now. I did get this one, because I quite enjoyed the look of this 200+-year-old statue being surrounded by kitsch from the 1970s.
What was in Melk, you ask? Why, a monastery, of course.
Or possibly an abbey; I’m unclear on what the difference is.2 Either way, it has a set of lovely courtyards, and a very well-developed museum inside. Unfortunately, they had a no photos policy for the indoors, so I can’t share any pictures from there.3
The abbey is built up above the rest of the town, which means it’s got a rather impressive view.
The Danube used to run right under it, actually, but as part of the ongoing work of ‘keeping the river from suddenly deciding it wants to be somewhere else and then drowning half the city,’ an artificial island was built as a buffer to protect the area, leaving a small canal that joins back up with the main body of the river later on.
These pictures were taken from the walkway that connects the end of the museum section with the (still functional) baroque library4 of the abbey. Rather cold out there, but beautiful view of the inner courtyard.
To get down into that little courtyard, you leave the library and cut through the church at the center of the abbey. Once again, I’m sad I couldn’t get any pictures – it was a truly Baroque church, which means gold everywhere.5
We’ll end with a close-up on the statue, there, because I swear statues have the best facial expressions.
- Castles are, like, a dime a dozen in Europe. Meanwhile in America we have, like, Hearst Castle and Disney World. ↩
- Don’t try to explain it to me; if I say I don’t know something, it’s because I find life more entertaining when I don’t know it. ↩
- It makes sense, I suppose – the abbey is still in use, and parts of it are the private living quarters of the monks. More sensical than the no photos policy at Schönbrunn, which I found out about today after working hard to protect my camera from the rain on the way out there. Not that I’m holding a grudge about this or anything… ↩
- I’m still deeply sad about the fact that I couldn’t take any pictures in the library; it was gorgeous. And, as a nice little bonus, six of the bookshelves had hidden doors in them, which the monks (before the invention of electricity) could use to let more light into the room. No candles or lanterns around all that paper, you see. ↩
- We asked our tour guide – there’s a total of 5 kilograms of gold on the walls of the church. My favorite bit? A gold-covered crown the size of a bathtub hanging above where the pastor would preach from. ↩