On day eleven (Monday, May 5th–but let’s be real, I was completely unmoored from time and space at this point) we took another tour! But this was the huge-busload-of-people type of tour that I previously disparaged. As a matter of fact, along with the rest of our busload, we were brought to Spitz.
(I think mostly so I could look cool while waiting for the boat.)
Boat? Yes, boat! We and our tour group were shepherded onto the Prinz Eugen and from Spitz, we sailed down the Danube! At least we were a huge-boatload-of-people for a while, just for a change of pace.
It was more brown than blue, but I’ll let this one slide since there were neat castles and such. (Man, everyone has a castle in Europe. I think they breed with each other and make baby castles.)
It was nice out there on the boat, but eventually we had to get off of the boat, heave a weary sigh, and reluctantly explore the magnificent Melk Abbey.
Forced to enjoy the immaculate gardens and grounds–
Made to admire its wonderful mustard-colored facade–
And then compelled to actually enter the abbey to see such exhaustingly amazing antiquities as this combination altar/reliquary.
Just to be contrary, my favorite piece of history was the reusable coffin, which the anti-Baroque Joseph II thought was wonderfully practical. Whether reusable coffins were actually put into use in Austria is disputed, but peh! Facts! I do not care for such things.
Let’s just admire some more of this gold paint instead. (The abbey was actually being worked on while we were there, so just imagine chicken wire and crumbled concrete slightly out of view.)
After a wander through the library–where photography wasn’t allowed at all because, to quote the tour guide, “people wouldn’t stop taking pictures with the flash on,” as she eyeballed the tourists in our group who wouldn’t stop taking pictures with the flash on–we ended up in the church, which is a) still a place of worship today and b) a bananas example of Baroque opulence.
All the frescoes and golden cherubs were a bit overstimulating, but you can see how the intent of Baroque architecture was to make the church feel like heaven on Earth.
In particular, I have a soft spot for cupolas, so here–have one on me.
I must admit, though, my favorite part wasn’t even inside the church. It was the spiral stairwell leading to the church from the library. It’s meant to look infinite and made me a little dizzy, but I think the dizziness was really just me falling deeply in love.
After the tour, and after another quick photo, we headed back to Vienna by bus (no boat this time). Mom and I had a grand idea, then; the bus dropped us off near the opera house, and you know what ELSE is near the opera house?
That’s right, the Hotel Sacher! It was a little unsettling to see the face of my usual internet avatar staring up at me from the menus, but finally getting to eat some sachertorte felt like the confluence of important elements in my life. Possibly the point of everything leading up to that moment?
On the way back to our own hotel, we passed the front of the Hofburg. Little did we know how much time we’d spend trying to find our way around it tomorrow.
No, we were young and innocent that evening, and more given to childish pursuits like photographing terrifying fashion mannequin window displays. Enjoy it while you can, tender Mia, for soon you will be older, wiser, and have much sorer feet.