Austria is one of the countries I like most because almost every place in this country to which I have traveled is beautiful. This first part of Austria, I will write about Melk and Lunz am See, places in Lower Austria, the state that has the famous Danube flowing from west to east. And Lunz am See is one of my most favorite places in Austria.
Actually when we left Vienna, we did not know where to go, just knowing to go towards Graz, but the man who gave us a lift advised us to go to Melk because this is a great place to visit. Thanks to that we visited a bit of Melk. Melk was a picturesque old town and had a lot of tourists. The most famous place in Melk was probably the Benedictine Monastery, one of the most magnificent monasteries in Austria.
At first, the monastery was just a Roman fortified called Namare. But then a castle was built on it to protect the border. In 1089, this place was handed over to Benedictine and in 1113, the bones of St. Koloman were moved here, ensuring its fame as a place of pilgrimage. In the 13th century, the original monastery was severely damaged by fire. This magnificent Baroque structure was built between 1702 and 1738. The various buildings of the monastery were laid out around seven courtyards, and the most prominent part of the complex, which had a total length of 325 meters, was the west end with its twin towered church rising above a semicircular terrace range. The abbey’s octagonal domed entrance gate, flanked by the statues of St. Koloman and St. Leopold, led into the forecourt (Torwartlhof) with superb views of its magnificent, almost palace-like east façade. Just watching the monastery from far outside, I already had to admire the towering grandeur. But I also heard that the interior was equally gorgeous because the Abbey was considered to be the most finest Baroque monastery in the north of the Alps and famous for its twin towers surmounted by helm roofs, along with its outstanding interior with superb 18th century ceiling paintings. From the monastery we could cross a bridge to the Danube. Many cruise ships stopped at the Danube bank for tourists to visit the town.
It was already late afternoon so we went to find a place to camp. We walked about 2 kilometers to find a nice Danube beach. Some groups were also camping there. From here, we could see the Schloss Schönbühel standing on a high cliff on the river bank. This castle was built in the 12th century on an old Roman fortress. The castle had been repaired many times and days to get the present shape, which was incorporated from the old walls from the early 19th century.
The sunset on the Danube bank was so beautiful. We tried fishing but could not catch any fish so we just ate the food we brought. Sunrise on the river was also very peaceful. There was no other sounds except the birds singing.
At 9:00 am, Austrian troops performed exercises on the river. That was the first time I saw such a military exercise.
When we were watching them, a German old man arrived. He was having a test drive and came here. We shared breakfast and had a fun conversation. When he departed, he gave us a small wooden chopping board and a fork carried with him. After we left, we also prepared to continue our trip.
While walking to the shopping area, we happened to come across a blossoming colza field. It is so breathtakingly beautiful.
Unfortunately, we did not stay in Melk for a longer time because we later heard that Maria Taferl Church, Schloss Schallaburg, Wachau Valley or Aggstein Castle ruins were also interesting places to visit. That afternoon we hitchhiked to Lunz am See.
Lunz am See
When there was an ancient car of a good-hearted couple stopping for us, we were a bit skeptical because we did not know if our big backpacks fitted the trunk. But miraculously, they were both just well fit. So we left. Both of them did not go to Lunz am See but close to there so they gave us a lift. On the way we were once again a little worried because the car was small and ancient but that the road had many mountainous turns. We did not know if the car could climb up the pass. But it seems they read our minds, so they encouraged us not to worry, their car was as strong as them. What a cute couple! And truly just like them, the car was running smoothly. There were no problems at all. And finally we arrived.
They brought us to a park looking like a park by the lake, with a restaurant, a lawn and bathroom with toilet (to have a bath after swimming), playground for children . They also told us that it was free of charge to use the toilet and bathroom. Then we say goodbye. We went inside to rest on the grass and went swimming.
The lake here was beautiful, the water was like a mirror. We came here in the summer, so it was sunny during the day, not too hot, but in the morning and evening the weather turned cold. Water in the lake was only 10 degrees Celsius when the sun was at its highest. There were many people from old to young going swimming. I also went down to the lake but just dared to stand for water flooded my knees and then went up because it was too cold. Such an Asian living in tropical climates.
From the shore, we could see the bottom of the lake and fish swimming. Fish here was very bold. When we were standing in the water, the fish was swimming at our feet without being afraid. There were a lot of fish in the lake but fishing was prohibited.
After resting, we made a little round around the lake. Around the lake, there were several houses hiding among green trees, some restaurants and boat rental shops. We went for a coffee and some wine at a lake restaurant. The restaurant had a balcony stretching out to the lake. The view from its balcony to the lake were amazing. Beneath the balcony were ducks and swan playing and lots of fish swimming.
The paths around the lake shadowed by green trees like in the forest. Sometimes there were green lawns and with cows grazing grass slowly. A long the lake bank, people also set tables and chairs so that passers could stop for resting and enjoying the views. The town side at the street part the street had small and beautiful colourful houses.
We camped by the lake two days. Since only a part of the lake was near the road, there were quite a lot of places left by the lake bank for camping.
During the day the lake was already beautiful, sunset and sunrise were even much better. The dawn here was covered white frost like in heaven. No words could describe the beauty of this place at dawn. Even the pictures I showed you are not as good as the real scenes.
Then we left for Mariazell. There were actually two things we did not do in Lunz am See. Those were hiking and eating pizza in a special restaurant. In Lunz am See there were beautiful hiking trails but my knees were sore so I could not walk much. If you go to Lunz am See, remember to go hiking there! Beauty is guarantied. For the special pizza restaurant, we heard about it after we left. This was one of the most fascinating and crazy places to eat pizza. This place was opened by a French couple and decorated in eclectic but sweet way.
For example, the wall of the vip room was covered with a red, communist-era flag alongside aircraft propellers and vespas. Very cool! The pizza was delicious, the same with the bordeaux and the service was fast. It sounds mouthwatering, isn’t it? If you are going to try this restaurant, please share with me your review!