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Melk Abbey

When we were planning for the trip, knowing that we would be going to Prague, I suggested going to Auschwitz in Poland, to visit the concentration camp there. But we didn’t feel comfortable enough to visit two countries in East Europe, so we dropped the idea. But we managed to include a visit to a concentration camp when we were planning for Austria.

It was not exactly fun to visit the Mauthausen Concentration Camp; it was the first time visiting such a place for all of us. I think we all understand we need to be respectful, not to be loud, and definitely not to be cheery or crack a smile. It was certainly an unique and learning experience. We ended up spending more than two hours there; we could’ve spent more time there, but we got a schedule to keep, other places to visit, before getting to Vienna.

Speaking of schedule, it was extremely tight. Originally we planned to leave Hallstatt (where we spent the night before) early in the morning, to go to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, and then to finish our visit there around 11am. Well, we didn’t leave as early as we planned, and didn’t get to Mauthausen until 11am. I figured we’ll know what to skip when the time comes.

I actually thought we would skipped the next stop, the Melk Abbey. My understanding was that Melk Abbey is a great looking building overseeing the Danube river, and so I was hoping to take pictures from the outside. By the time we got there, it was raining pretty hard, so I didn’t think I want to stick around. But Vincent thought we could have lunch in the town, and see what to do after. So we went to a decent place for lunch (Tom’s Restaurant listed in Lonely Planet.) By the time we finished lunch, it was almost 4pm, just barely made it to the last admission to Melk Abbey. Was I glad we didn’t skip this place, its Marble Hall, the Library, and the Baroque abbey itself, all are very impressive. And of course the weather became a little better by then, so I got a few shots of the building as well.

After Mauthausen and Melk, I felt we’ve had a good day of travelling already, so I wasn’t so concerned about rest of the day, as long as we get to Vienna in the end. Well, I was actually quite looking forward to this next stop even before the trip; it was to visit a winery in Austria’s Wachau wine region. We had contacted one winery in advanced, but by the time we got there (which was quite late), there were no one answering the door. So the only thing left to do is to sneak into their vineyard, which is just behind their houses, hoping to get caught. So after taking a few pictures there, we continued our road trip. The plan was to have dinner at the next stop, a town called Krems. There is a nice little town center area where the shops and restaurants are. We walked around a little, but we decided it is better to get to Vienna as soon as possible; it would be difficult to sort things out late at night if there was any complications with our Vienna apartment. The apartment was fine, although it took us a bit of time to find it; a correct address would have certainly helped.

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