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A friend of ours was born in Melk, so we were particularly interested in visiting this small Austrian town, significant because of its beautiful abbey.  Once again, the ship was held up by locks and could not get to Melk on the expected schedule, so we were bused directly up the hill to the abbey from a nearby town, .

This community of Benedictine monks is over 900 years old, presented to the monastic order by Leopold II of Badenberg; however the existing fortified palace was built between 1702 and 1736.  Monks are still in residence and they also run a prestigious non-residential school for 700 girls and boys.

The highlight of our tour through the numerous rooms was the multi-storey library. Comprising 8 rooms in all, it contains over 80,000 medieval manuscripts. We were not allowed to take photographs indoors, so I had to make do with a postcard.

The twin-spired Abbey Church was resplendent with plaster statues, angels and saints, amazing frescoes and a painted octagonal dome. Baroque architecture at its best.

We could, however take photos of the courtyard, outer buildings and the garden “Baroque Pavillion.  The garden was adorned with some strange cut-out animals – I couldn’t help but capture the monkey in the arbour!

We walked down into the town and thought how the town centre had probably changed little since Gary had spent his early years here in the 1930s.

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