Wachau, The enchanting river valley of wine, castles and Abbey

Time to walk through the vineyards in the rain

Grapes growing or Viticulture since the roman times,luscious vineyards, hilly well- preserved landscapes along the Danube river, the home of the Wachauer Apricots, and a world class wine producer.That´s what I´ve heard from the locals when we visited this region in the Wachau Valley.Though the weather is not that great,it´s raining and foggy but we still had the chance to see the magic of this place. The mighty river Danube flows through the villages and the acres of grapes and apricot trees loomed before my eyes.Watching the fog kisses the mountains along the river is such a mesmerizing sight.

The Wachau Cultural Landscape was elevated to UNESCO World Heritage status in its entirety in 2000.The Roman cultivated their wine here and up until now, the local growers are proud of the magic of their soil.

One thing that is typical in this region is their narrow terraced slopes to grow the grapes.In order to use of the sloping land, they´ve buit these narrow terraces. It´s steep slope means the growers have a difficult time during manual harvest in Fall.Most of the terraces are still in use up until now.

When the rain stopped, we managed to take a walk and look at the beautiful scenery in front of us. The neighbourhood is so quiet, but in the town proper of Krems, Melk and Dürnstein, the place is bustling with tourists and locals.This place is a famous cycling path for cyclists as well. Cycling through the Danube river with the view of the ruins, castles and vineyards is somewhat similar to our experience when we visit the Moselle, Rhine and Koblenz.many tourists can take a cruise ship and have a stop here and the neighbouring towns to explore them.

The Danube Bike Route, the Eurovelo #6, is one of the most scenic cycling routes in Europe. It extends for about 1,200 kilometers from Donaueschingen in Germany to the Hungarian capital of Budapest, and the section through Wachau is a highlight of the route.I have seen many people cycling, even through the rain and having a stop seeing the famous Baroque jewel of the Danube, the Melk Benedictine Abbey.

The grapes will be ready for harvest in Fall and this made me imagine how this place would glow during the colorful changing of foliages in Autumn or how exciting it would be to harvest the grapes as well.I added in my bucket list and I hope I can do that someday or even apricot picking.This place is very known for the local produce of Apricot or Marille.It is known as the Wachauer Apricot which is a symbol of this region.

I´ve always loved sceneries like this. Quiet,little enchanting old villages with lots of history.Every winery boots its own delicacy perfected by time and skill. We arrived in the town of Krems and marvelled at this historical old town.Happy enough that I found something added to my fascination of Manholes and doors! Krems is the largest town in Wachau valley.There is the Steintor,a 15th century gate made of stone, with towers on both sides.The town is line up with shops which sells different kinds of things, cafes, restaurants and the specialty of the region, the apricot. I have tried the Croissant with an apricot filling and it was quite good.You should not leave this town without sampling their local product, the apricot and their wines. This valley is the home of the award-winning Grüner Veltliner wines, which are refreshing on a warm summer day and the Domäne Wachau is also known for their Gemischter Satz and Rieslings.

 The European Union has proclaimed the Wachau apricot a “protected designation of origin” so it´s really special in this region.Each spring, about 100,000 apricot trees transform the whole region into a pink-white sea of blossom.Thinking of visiting this place in Spring

Another town worthy of visit is Dürnstein. This place is famous for its castle ruins, the Dürnstein Abbey (Stift Dürnstein) and . It´s kind of foggy that day so my photos were not clear but in this town you will see the blue church. I didn´t know that Austria also has a version of a blue church just like in Bratislava.The castle here was the place were King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned and held by Leopold V of Austria during their dispute in the Third Crusade.

Lastly, our trip won´t be complete without seeing the Benedictine Abbey of Melk.The thing about in Austria, they have thousands of castles, abbeys, or monasteries, even Klösters that are perched high above a mountain or a cliff. Everything offers a picturesque view of the Danube and who wouldn´t be enticed to explore it? All the seetings are so picturesque.

Melk Abbey was founded in 1089 abd from a far, it´s ochre color is like a glowing jewel in between the hilly landscapes along the river.

When we got inside I realized what a hidden treasure this place is. I´ve heard about it but never interested because I am not into a pilgrimage or any religious trip, and aside from the fact that it might bore my kid.But when we see what´s inside, my jaws just dropped because the architecture inside is too pretty to describe.

Today, still about 40 monks lived and work in the Benedictine Abbey.When you don´t stop traveling and exploring, you never stop to learn. I never heard of this place before , little that I know that monks are still present on this times. I thought they are only in Tibet !The Melk abbey is indeed a jewel along the Danube.The moment you see it´s yellow-orange Baroque building, your wondering mind will continue to ask you to keep on going.

Actually it´s not about the wines and the vineyards that makes this place worthwhile of visit-it´s the history itself.It´s like every medieval town has naturally preserved their legacy from the roman times up to the present.

I wished we could have stayed more and explore more of the quaint towns and villages.But then, a glimpse of the life in this region made our days memorable.Just thinking that the same river that flows in my neighbourhood at home is the same gigantic Danube that connects this wonderful towns to us makes me smile.

Until then, Tschüss.

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