Earlier this fall I spent some time on the Romantic Road in Upper Austria for a press trip. The scenery and the old buildings were gorgeous. And Austria was as it has been every time and every place I’ve visited: pristine, sparkling clean and populated with superbly courteous people.
My itinerary included the Benedictine Monastery at Kremsmünster, home to a beautiful 17th century library and a hefty 8th century copper and silver goblet, the Tassilo Chalice, not to mention my creepy tour guide, Father Robert.
The Library at Kremsmünster Abbey, an excerpt:
It’s a cold, gray day made colder by a delicate mist of rain that sparkles in miniscule droplets on the leaves of the trees around the monastery, but immediately soaks through my lightweight jacket and chills to the bone. I try not to shiver when I look at Father Robert. He’ll be our tour guide, he explains in his Germanic-sounding Spanish, what would we like to see? He’s wearing a floor-length priest’s habit with crusty chunks of food stuck to the front of it. He smiles unconvincingly, showing off yellowed tombstone teeth below beady eyes set in loose skin mottled with age spots and the occasional whisker and I repress a shudder with a grimace, because frankly, man of the cloth or no, he gives me the creeps.
I look down like a shy teenager and mumble to the floor about how much I would like to see the library…