Tuesday we took a Viator day trip to the Benedictine abbey of Melk.  We took a bus from Vienna to the Danube River valley where we transferred to a boat for the 1.5 hour cruise to Melk.  We then toured the abbey before returning to Vienna by bus.The river cruise had castle ruins on the hills,castles by the river,villages with vineyards in the background,and villages without any vineyards around.  In short, it was a beautiful trip!

The Melk Abbey was founded in 1089 when a member of Austrian nobility gave one of his castles to the Benedictine monks.  They turned it into a monastic school which became renowned for its extensive manuscript collection.  The present Baroque abbey was built between  1702 and 1736.  It has a famous library of about 100,000 books and a school with 900 students.  There are only 30 monks residing in the abbey and only two of them teach at the school.The abbey gardens.  The building is used for musical concerts.This is the back of the abbey.The main courtyard of the abbey.

Unfortunately, the front of the building was undergoing maintenance, but you get the idea of how it looks.The abbey sits on a hill above the town of Melk.Pictures were not allowed inside the abbey, so I downloaded the following pictures courtesy of Google.

The main alter of the church.

One of about ten rooms that make up the library, which is still used by researchers.  By the way, the blue Danube is in no way blue and according to our guide, it never was.

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