Travel to the Austrian Danube
Day 8 Linz - Enns - Grein - Melk - Tulln
(in 14 km) Enns: We leave Linz driving with the car towards Grein, to continue the bike path from where we left off the day before. On the way we stop to walk through the old town of Enns. As Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, endowed Enns with town privileges in 1212, it is now considered Austria´s oldest town (apart from the Roman municipal status). The landmark of Enns, the belfry (Town Tower) on the Main Square, was erected between 1564 and 1568 as a bell tower, watch and clock tower during the reign of emperor Maximilian II.
Enns - Bell tower
Our short walk begins with the Pfarrkirche St. Marien, the Wienerstraße street which leads to the Hauptplatz, where his famous Stadtturm tower is located, turning left by the commercial Linzerstrasse, which highlights by the facades of some of their houses and we return to Mauthausnerstrasse, at the end of which we can see the remains of some of the city walls.
(in 46 km) Grein: We started the bike path from Grein, but this time on the right bank of the Danube, to avoid traffic road number 3. The first stretch advances under the shade of trees, through the valley of Struden. Already approaching Ybbs under Donau the bike path offers less shadows.
We are suffering a severe heat wave. We are around 38 degrees and as this stretch of the scenery is not the most beautiful, we decided to continue driving. Passed Ybbs an der Donau we see from the road, across the valley, the basilica Maria Taferl, place of pilgrimage from all over Austria.
(in 36 km) Pöchlarn: We make a short visit to Pöchlarn, stopping at the beautiful Thörringplatz, where we find the parish church of the Assumption, built between 1389 and 1429, and renovated after a fire in 1766 in Baroque style. A few meters we see the Welsern tower (Welserturm).
(in 12 km) Melk: After parking the car beside the Danube, we went running to the entrance of the abbey and bought tickets 1 minute before they close. We have only half an hour for the visit. Melk Abbey (Stift Melk) is a Benedictine abbey on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube river, adjoining the Wachau valley. The abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks from Lambach Abbey. A monastic school, the Stiftsgymnasium Melk, was founded in the 12th century, and the monastic library soon became renowned for its extensive manuscript collection. The monastery´s scriptorium was also a major site for the production of manuscripts.
Melk - Outdoors of the abbey
In the 15th century the abbey became the centre of the Melk Reform movement which reinvigorated the monastic life of Austria and Southern Germany. Today´s Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736 to designs by Jakob Prandtauer. Particularly noteworthy are the abbey church with frescos by Johann Michael Rottmayr and the library with countless medieval manuscripts, including a famed collection of musical manuscripts and frescos by Paul Troger. In his novel The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco named one of the protagonists "Adso of Melk" as a tribute to the abbey and its famous library.
Melk - Abbey´s church
The Abbey has 999 windows. They did not put more windows because from one thousand they would be payed more taxes. After leaving the main building of the abbey, slowly we walked through the gardens of the seventeenth century named the Orangerie. We left the abbey and go down the street Wiener Straße, until you reach the Town Hall Square (Rathausplatz), which highlights the fountain Kolomanibrunnen from 1687 and the town hall built in 1575. A little further down we find the Hauptplatz, with a baroque statue of John of Nepomuk, a work of 1736. Finally we went out by Linzer Straße and at number 3 we find the Altes Posthaus, with a neoclassical façade which highlights the golden , built in 1792.
Melk - Abbey Gardens (Orangerie)
(in 49 km) Tulln an der Donau: We leave Melk, which we will return the last day of the bike path to move to Tulln, where we will spend the next few nights.