Winter in Austria & Germany

Since it has been so unseasonably warm on the U.S. east coast this winter, we had no idea that our Viking River Cruise last December would basically be the only taste of winter we got the entire season. Some of our favorite memories of the trip are from exploring winter in Austria & Germany.

Austria: Göttweig Abbey

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

The day our ship was docked in Krems, Austria, we took a little excursion to nearby Göttweig Abbey, a working Benedictine monastery. Founded in 1083, the monastery has seen quite a lot of history, from significant decline in the 16th century, to a large fire in the early-1700s, to present day when it is home to 50 monks. Viking River Cruises has a special partnership with the Abbey & has made a number of donations & improvements to the building, including providing the financing for the visitors center. The Abbey is best known for making apricot wine & we were able to sample some during our tour. A light coating of snow from overnight covered the building’s red roofs, giving it a particularly fairy tale-like look as we toured the grounds.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

The stunning fresco, which represents Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI as Apollo, was painted in the 1730s & is truly a work to behold. You can’t help but feel like royalty as you descend up & down the grand staircase.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Abbey Church
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

During Advent, a small holiday market takes place at the Abbey, selling crafts & ornaments handmade by the local community. In addition, the Abbey has a rather extensive gift shop that sells local Austria wine.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

The Abbey is perhaps best known for its huge library of over 130,000 books & manuscripts, which all largely survived WWII unscathed. Sadly, the library is not open to visitors.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Germany: Bavarian Forest

the very impressive Walhalla, a reproduction of the Parthenon in Athens, commissioned by Bavarian King Ludwig I in 1842 (not cheap!)
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

The morning we were due into Regensburg, Germany, an announcement on the ship said that we were running about an hour behind schedule, due to traffic in the locks. I initially rolled over in bed, happy for a little extra sleep. But unable to sleep, I got up to shuffle down for coffee, peaking out the window of our room to see where we were. And thank goodness I did – as this was the frosty, snowy, wintery, magnificent view! As we cruised past the Bavarian Forest, covered in snow & icicles, it felt like we were heading into a Disney fairytale land. It was truly some of the most beautiful scenery of the trip.

Bavarian Forest
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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About christina

Christina is a 30-something D.I.N.K. travel writer & photographer who travels the world often wedged into the middle seat. Follow her on Twitter & Facebook.

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