Truthfully, yesterday I had a hard time thinking about what ever could be romantic about the town of Krems, and the Gottweig Abbey, and where would I be able to find romance today? Up early, off to breakfast and then on a bus, and, shortly, we arrived at the Gottweig Abbey.  A history lesson – actually, a walk in history as the abbey has been working for over 900 years and still to this day runs successfully as a holy place, a business and an outreach centre.

Gottweig Abbey

The Gottweig Abbey is quite beautiful.  Each element is thoroughly thought out.  Really, it does not hurt that it sits at the top of a huge hill and does such good works!  I suppose I could say that that location or the history is romantic, but in my mind that would be stretching it.

After a welcome drink of sparkling wine and/or locally made apricot juice, we sit down and listen to the history of this environ by watching a short film.  It seems that the monks are hard workers, devoted to God, devoted to monastic life and the occupants of Krems and surrounding areas.  We toured the inner areas of the Abbey which included the church.  Our guide introduces us to the crypt which is used daily for the monks’ final prayer and has been in use for hundreds of years.  We also are able to visit the receiving building for guests who are dignitaries. Here we are told of fires and how the war affected the monks and the Abbey itself.  Perhaps some romance there, but I really wasn’t feeling it.

Looking for romance

Back to the boat, off to lunch and sailing we go.  Now I should be in for some romance, I think.   We were sailing down the Danube, after all.  Romance romance romance, but still I don’t see it.

The day is cool and crisp and clear.  I did some walking on the outdoor track as program director Marik pointed out buildings and churches and areas on the left and right side of the river of historical significance as we continue upstream. 

Wachau Valley

As we sail, the valley closes in somewhat and becomes more intimate.  Subtly so.  Imperceptibly so.  The gentle shores become closer and seem to hold secrets waiting to be told.  Guests calm down.  There seems to be a sigh and a collective dropping of shoulders, emptying of minds and relaxation.  At one point I felt nostalgic, not from having been there before, but from the thought that probably every inch of the hills have been walked on and touched at some point in history.  Contrast this with North America and one can understand the difference.  In Canada, Alberta, anyways, there are seemingly huge tracts of land which have never been touched or walked on by humans.

Romance found …

As we sailed further and further upstream on the Danube through the beautiful Wachau Valley, there are no candle lights or romantic whisperings in your ear.  It’s much quieter and more sensuous than that.  The shores and the history gently relax your body, drop your heart rate, and caresses your body into a quiet and blissfully abandoned state of calm.  Therein lies the romance.  Therein lies what I am looking for. 

Later in the afternoon, my husband and I wandered up into the lounge and played a game of cards, off to dinner, entertainment if we wanted and to sleep.  Today I feel reenergized and genuinely feel the benefits of the romantic day on board the Romantic Danube Viking River Cruise yesterday afternoon. 

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