Right after breakfast we had our safety drill. Since you can see both banks of the river, we didn't feel much need for the life preservers, but know these safety briefings are important so we went along with it and had a good time.
Then we spent the morning cruising the beautiful Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with terraced vineyards, lush flowering fields and innumerable charming towns. Most people gathered on the roof to enjoy the sun, the views and the commentary.
In the afternoon we visited the Melk Abbey, which rises up from the surrounding countryside along the Danube. We had a guided tour of the ornate 900-year-old Baroque abbey. Melk Abbey's earliest incarnation was as a Roman border post. Later, it served as a tenth-century Babenberg fortress. It then became a Benedictine monastery in 1089, and earned a distinguished reputation for medieval scholarship. It continues to function as a school today. Its library includes more than 70,000 books and 2,000 manuscripts, chiefly from the ninth through the 15th centuries.
Last, but not least, our group of 20 travelers gathered in the lounge for a Grand Circle sponsored happy hour.
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