Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 11

Nothing stands still forever. Through circumstances or choice, we are all constantly changing as we pass through life. The contrast between very old and very new is quite evident in Europe and you can see where there is an attempt to hold back change and where there is an attempt to work with change.

The Melk Abbey is 900 years old. It is still a working abbey with Benedictine monks. At one time, it was a rich and self sufficient abbey and then it fell on difficult times and then it received funding for a massive renovation project and now it is once again self sufficient primarily through tourism but also through the school, restaurants, stores, and library that are operated on the premises. The monks are either assigned a duty within the abbey or they are living and working in the parishes helping the parishioners.

Each room of the exhibit had a color. When I saw this green room coming up, I wanted a picture because it's my green and then I learned that it's the color of hope. That works. Later that day, in Krems, I bought a ring with a large stone this color. It's "the" ring I was hoping to find on this trip. I guess I jumped the gun buying the other two in Passau but you can't go back, compare, and pick so it was the choice I had to make.

The glove is from robes that are still worn by the head monk for ceremonies. The embroidery is gold thread. As you can see it's dense around the cuff. That's nothing. On the main garment, it completely covers the cloth beneath and the vestments (I think that's what they are called) weigh 60 pounds mainly due to the embroidery. I thought the way they displayed the gloves was really fun.

The abbey is built in a baroque style of architecture and there are many tricks to the eye. The ceiling in the main dining room was painted so that the perspective was correct if you stood in the middle of the room and looked up but it leaned as you shifted to the left or the right. I can't imagine how difficult that was to paint lying on your back on scaffolding without any of the tricks of the trade that we have today like projectors.

The staircase above looks like it goes on forever and ever only there is a mirror at the bottom and it's actually only a few turns high. The marble details at right are stucco mixed with pigment and applied in a thin layer. Not all that long ago, faux finishes were in style and I think they are making another appearance. Apparently, they've been a cycling trend for centuries - LOL - nothing new under the sun.

Because it's a working abbey, the doors show signs of use. I love all the chips at left and the wonderful design of these handles.

I refer to what we're on as a tasting tour - like wine - only a small sip as we do a little of this and a little of that, ideally returning to explore more. That's highly unlikely so there are a few places I wish I had known more about first. We've been told several times that the gardens of the place we are visiting are lovely only to be disappointed so we didn't really think about it at the abbey only they were wonderful and worth exploration and we didn't have enough time. The ravens above mimic the characteristics of individual monks. They line one of the walkways and show a lot of humour not only with the artist but the gardener and...

... YARN BOMBING... in a 900 year old abbey. Who'd have thought it? I just had to have a picture of this. Too fun.

After Melk, we sailed on to Krems where we had coffee and walked around the town. The tiles above were quite large on the side of a building. I thought they'd make a fabulous piece of wall art or pendant for a necklace.

I've had a lot of time to reflect on getting older since many of the other passengers are 10, 20, 30, even 40 years older than us. I can see that aging is not a pleasant thing for many people and that it's important to take care of yourself. I don't look in the above picture like I felt when I was fooling around on that wall and I know when I get home that I'll want to choose to make some changes to keep my older ages as healthy as possible.

We found a house with a large (for this area) garden and a two car garage ! ! ! No matter how pretty, I can't see us living in a small town in such an old country with only two main roads and the houses packed close together. This small is too small for me. I really admire people who have been able to move not just to another country but to another continent. It's a huge choice for change.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - Europe has some beautiful towns and lovely sights and so does home.


  1. Now you have the perspective to appreciate the differences in each!

  2. I find traveling just gives me Dorothy Syndrome ("There's no place like home!"). Lots of fascinating places to visit but nowhere else I would want to live but the neighbourhood I grew up in.


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