Sunday was a "day of rest" for these travellers who are working so hard!!! The boat made two stops in a couple of smaller towns and sailed gently through the Wachau Valley - aka very photogenic countryside with vineyards!!!
The first of these was Durnstein - population only a few hundred but a picture perfect European village with narrow cobbled streets, delightful gardens, the obligatory church and other notable buildings. It was a short walk from the boat mooring up into the village and an hour wandering around and taking a few photos was just right before returning to the ship for morning tea!! (A tough gig!).
A bike ride between this village and the next port of call in Melk had been offered to those who see themselves as needing something more challenging!!! Mick signed up, of course, and headed off with around 30 others under the guidance of an strong and definite young guide (her Dad came along as "lantern rouge" and "Mr. Fixit"). It was around 32 km along the river bank with lots of stops for photos etc. It was pretty easy (it needed to cater for those who thought they were better than they actually are!) but long and hard enough for the riders to feel as though they had achieved something!!! Mick enjoyed it a lot and despite initially feeling part of "peloton geratric" in the initial stages, found it just right in distance and effort required ... he was glad to have the electric "assist" towards the end!!!
With the cyclists having a quick beer, lunch, shower and change the whole ship were then bussed up the short hill to the Melk Monastery - a Benedictine Abbey of enormous proportions that absolutely dominates this small village and the surrounding area! We were pleased to go and realised that it is perhaps the first time that we have been in a "working" monastery ... most of the ones we have seen have been ruins! It is huge (it incorporates a school for 900 kids as well) and in very good repair. We had another excellent guide for our small group and thoroughly enjoyed the very well-presented, modern museum, historical rooms (including a great library) and the absolutely, over-the-top, high baroque church. It really is something but definitely an aquired taste!!
We all took the very short stroll down through another pretty village to the boat mooring in time for pre-dinner drinks. After being the only watchers on the top deck whilst the ship navigated another large lock - again much to the amusement of the working crew! (Elaine came up this time and could see why Mick gets so excited by locks, it is simply amazing to see the ships all rising gently with such little apparent effort).