Our children returned from their four-day Parisian outing late on Friday evening and were inspired to do little more than lounge about the house on Saturday. (Poor things; spending our money must have tuckered them out.) Tony and I, on the other hand, are always inspired to leave the house on Saturdays. Especially this Saturday. Temperatures have been record-setting for weeks now, and although our un-airconditioned home has remained well-ventilated and comfortable, cooler climes are always preferred.
We used the tried-and-true method of day trip planning: open our Niederösterreich tourism map and look for something we have not toured. Saturday’s winner was Stift Zwettl, about 90 (air-conditioned) minutes from the house.
Stiff Zwettl is one of the largest Catholic monasteries in the world, if that is not obvious from this Internet image. The monastery is very active with farming, fishing, forestry, and the requisite wine-making.
|Thank you, Internet, for the photo
Visits to the interesting interior spaces are by guided tours only, and our guide was thoughtfully verbose, allowing us to linger in the shade and delectable 15º coolness of the Entrance Hall whilst he filled our heads with dates and names that would be quickly forgotten.
From the Entrance Hall we moved to the monastic library, where, interestingly, no photos were permitted. Then it was on to the church via the Sacristy “locker room.”
Though the church seemed imposing from the exterior, the interior was light and devoid of so much of the gilded this and marbled that usually found within structures of this measure.
If anything, the airiness of the church and lack of ornamentation made the altar stand out spectacularly.
We ended the tour back where we started, with everyone looking a bit less wilted than we began. Lunch in a shaded garden restaurant followed, and by the time we returned home the children had finished their laundry, walked Clayton Theodore, and were opening up the house to let the late afternoon breeze cool the rooms. Perfect.