Do the monks do the cleaning, or is that what the nuns are for? Does everyone chip in, including the 700 or so students studying here? Charity begins at home, right?
These were the practical things rolling around inside my head like marbles (I know, you’re wondering at this point if I’ve lost my marbles) as we began our 90-minute tour on the second floor. Of course there was also the running monologue coming through my headphones via our guide, a very knowledgeable student from the abbey. She took herself and her job very seriously (she kept us moving at a clip), while I, on the other hand, had reached sensory overload. I was obviously incapable of anything but incoherent thought. Everything was turning blue as we commenced our tour in the museum portion of the abbey. Maybe I had lost my marbles! Why was the room blue?
The effect was enough to get me to stop, look and listen before crossing any more streets leading nowhere. There was so much in this room that seemed to go nowhere (or came out of nowhere), but I wasn’t playing anymore. I’d packed up my marbles for the duration. Even I knew this was going to require everything I could bring to the table sitting in the middle of the room. It was time to follow the monks' lead; time to dine on the divine with all my heart and soul. No distractions.
The blue light was very calming. It was so special, I wondered if K-Mart had been there ahead of me. Sorry! It’s all I can do to keep those marbles from rolling around inside my head!
I don’t want you losing interest either. I have one more day of Melk Abbey, a post filled with the splendor and grandeur of Baroque architecture, a favorite of the Roman Catholic Church, especially given the Protestants were giving the Catholic Church a run for their money during the Reformation. With the Catholic Church's wealth and power at stake, the emotional embellishments so typical of Baroque architecture went right to the heart and soul of man's faith, a faith the church needed to maintain the status quo.
History is really terribly enlightening, don't you think?
I think you'll like tomorrow's magnificent Marmorsaal (Marble Hall), where history's rich and famous were wined and dined. The church pulled out all the stops when it came to the glorious Stiftskirche (abbey church) of Saints Peter and Paul. All in all, I'd have to say my favorite piece of Baroque architecture was the abbey's spiral staircase; it would inspire envy in a conch shell.