Day 41, Saturday, October 5
We planned some sightseeing along the way to our next destination. First stop is the town of Krems. We walk the old town, looking for a place to have our picnic lunch, but when we finally find a bench it starts to rain. We eat our lunch under our umbrella and then it clears up enough for a little stroll down the main street of old town. It is a long street lined with mostly modern shops. Not really what we were expecting. This is the gate that leads onto the shop lined street. I do wonder why the geraniums grow so well here, Everywhere in Germany and Austria there are window boxes spilling over with blossoms. Mine at home don’t do nearly as well! We wander through the gate, and decide it is time to leave. I do see these lovely prints in a little window inside the gate.
Next stop is the Dürnstein Castle. The castle was built between 1140-1145 and in 1645 it was demolished by Swedish troops.
The castle became famous through the legend of Richard the Lionheart. The legend of Richard the Lionheart says that when he returned from the Crusades, the English King tore up the Austrian flag and refused to share his spoils of war with Leopold V. As a consequence, Leopold V held King Richard prisoner in the castle from 1192 – 1193.
We can see the castle high above the town. While we are getting information on how to hike to the castle the clouds get very dark and threatening. But just as quickly they start to blow over and in less than ten minutes the sky is relatively clear. On the path towards town from the carpark we pass vineyards with lots of green grapes. They look ready to pick. We find the path and start our climb…and it is definitely a climb! I am so glad I have our hiking poles, they really help climbing these big uneven steps that seem to go on forever. A view of the town from a much needed little rest stop.These little blue bells are the same kind that I have growing at home. My oldest daughter brought me seeds from Dawson City many years ago and they grow quite happily in our flower garden. This gorgeous blue beetle glistened indigo and cobalt with touches of turquoise. He, or perhaps she, was about the size of my thumbnail and paused in its travels long enough to let me take its photo.It is hard to see, but this old gentleman and his wife (you can just make out her bandaged leg and green skirt), were being helped down the trail by some kind hikers who stopped to help them. We have no idea how they managed to get this far, as they were having difficulty walking here where the ground was fairly flat. Someone at the bottom of the trail had told us to “Look out for two old Brits on the trail…I don’t think they are going to be able to get down and will need to stay up there!” They were very fortunate that kind strangers stopped and came to their aid. I think they will be exhausted by the time they make it down, or maybe they will need even more assistance? This sign explains what the castle used to look like. We are able to make out a few of the areas but most of the castle has been destroyed. Some views of the castle.The views from the top are wonderful and well worth the climb.
We see a riverboat cruising by on the Danube far below. It is starting to get very windy up here. The valley is dotted with village after village as far as we can see.I was looking for Bob and couldn’t find him… till I looked up.
We wonder if this is where king Richard was kept prisoner?
No one knew where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned. It is believed that Richard’s faithful minstrel, Blondel, travelled from castle to castle looking for his king. Richard was a poet and he wrote some of his own songs. Blondel found King Richard in Dürnstein by singing a refrain from a song Richard had written which the prisoner then sang back.
Richard the Lionheart was finally released after the payment of a ransom of 150,000 silver marks. Hmm, I wonder how much I need to pay to get this prisoner released? You can see the castle walls stretching all the way down to the town.
We are lucky enough to have a little impromptu concert. I really need to learn how to edit video so these are raw footage, but you will hear a bit of what we heard. Here is another short clip. We head down to town on a different path, one which is a bit easier than the one we climbed up. There are displays along the path explaining about the history of the Castle and King Richard the Lionheart. The path ends back in town. We see black grapes growing along the road and hanging on houses. They are quite tasty. The castle walls go through the town all the way down to the river!
As we make our way towards Hörsching and our next Airbnb we pass lots of terraced hillsides where grapes are grown. Then we see a very large chair! The sky is quite dramatic and it is getting dark by the time we arrive in Hörsching, our home for the next three days.