We are, of course, supposed to be in Brittany this week. But we’re not, and so Tony grudgingly returned to the office and Anna Grace and I have been amusing ourselves until we decide whether to plan another holiday. Yesterday’s amusement was a drive to visit rescued brown bears thankfully now living the good life in a sanctuary in the beautiful Waldviertel, the northwestern quarter of Lower Austria and part of the Voralpen.
|Thank you, Internet, for the photo|
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.”
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.
Tucked into a corner was this beautiful spiral staircase, the banister and walls cool to the touch.
From the arcade at the top of the stairs, a view of the courtyard and its murals. A breeze was floating through, and we could have perched ourselves on chairs for the entire afternoon.
The bridge connecting the castle to the church, to allow the Lords and Ladies a private entrance.
…through countless villages that all looked pretty much like this one, give or take the dried May Pole.
Soon enough the luscious green hills of the Wachau peeked out.
The Wachau is beautiful in all seasons, and even on hazy and humid summer days. We found a shaded Gasthof along the Danube, sat for a most delicious local lunch (and wine, of course), and toasted having escaped the heat of Vienna. This could become a habit.
The schloss is not the picture-perfect of so many that we have seen, but its slightly shabby state only added to its fun character.
Faded lions guard the drawbridge entrance, the moat no longer in use.
Odd little men with spears serve as the second level of defense.
Inside, we trod upon creaking wood floors and stairwells filled with antlers. By far, the most curious of palaces we have visited. The character of the palace had all the historical hints of a great place to party, our conclusion exclusively.
In the main courtyard the stately dragon sits. Once upon a time the dragon was a key component of the whimsical palace garden, but damage from vandals now forces the dragon into the secure courtyard. “Tis a shame.
As with the dragon, vandals caused enough problems that all of the stone dwarves were moved inside to one of the former gardening rooms. We named this one, “Missionary Dwarf.”
Our tour of the interior spaces began with a Gothic chapel, elegant (and cool) in the summer heat.
The Sala Terrena followed with its exotic painted walls.
Up the Emperor’s Staircase we went.
And then down again to the most elegantly decorated crypt we have ever seen. The Habsburg Crypt pales in comparison.
Equally as beautiful as the abbey is the monastery’s church.
Spring has finally settled in to stay. Temperatures are almost summer-like, but without the accompanying humidity. In other words, a perfect day to eschew chores and take a day trip instead. One member of the family was particularly excited to see the travel tote being packed.
The exhibit, “Glory and Gloom” presented personal accounts of the war from persons in all of the countries involved, including the United States. American Boy Scouts were busy once the United States entered the war, distributing war pamphlets and selling war bonds. In their down time, they read adventures novels. “The Boy Scout Signal” was written in 1915 and showed the Scouts using modern weaponry in the trenches.
Propaganda included posters by the National War Garden Commission in D.C. encouraging Americans to “Can vegetables…and the Kaiser too.”
A campaign requesting relief for the Ottoman genocide of Armenian minorities across its empire. It was not until 1943 that the term “genocide” was assigned to the systematic extermination of these people.
Advice from the Red Cross. I wonder what the success rate of package delivery was to the American prisoners?
Not American propaganda, but this gallery caught my eye. Apparently the Vienna police department had lots of free time on its hands during the war to be able to summarize its citizens war complaints every week.
This, and the exhibit in Vienna’s Military History Museum, were far and away the most interesting and informative hours I’ve spent learning about WWI. And now, onto the castle…
Our little photo bomber.
Courtyards and shaded pathways are a requirement for a Renaissance castle.
The green outside the portico where the falconry display was presented, with a Tannenwald (fir forest) as the backdrop.
Castle touring. So much more enjoyable than running errands.