Published: October 17th 2007October 3rd 2007
2nd October - 3rd October......... Grein.......
Another pleasant half day of cycling brought me to the very picturesque town of Grein, set right on the river with a castle/palace overlooking the town. The central main square is unchanged with buildings from the 16C. The old Town Hall built in 1563 was constructed into a theatre in 1791. It has operated as such since then! It would be an experience to be at the right time to be in this very intimate theatre to see a performance. It is completely unchanged, including the old wooden seating. Patrons could buy a 'season ticket' by purchasing a key that would unlock their seat. The toilet was separated from the auditorium only by a curtain. I think they must have some new toilets tucked away somewhere now. A prison cell was attached to the theatre and prisoners could watch the performance through a hole in the wall. Patrons would ensure they did not disturb the performance by keeping them well supplied with food, drink & tobacco.
The castle (Schloss Greinburg) was fascinating with its history and beauty. Originally built in the 1490s and upgraded in the 1620s, it is seriously old being
Grein with Schloss Greinburg
The town itself, like many of the old towns, is reasonably large. You don't really see this as you are contained within the old part. Having a cycle gives an added perspective.
one of the first castles in the German speaking world. The castle was purchased by the Dukes of Saxony-Coburg-Gotha which is interesting as the monarchies of Belgium, Portugal, and Great Britain all stem from the house of Coburg. Queen Victoria & hubby Albert were both descendants. Victoria's mother was the youngest sister of Albert's father, the Duke of Coburg who purchased Schloss Greinburg. In-breeding may explain some things...Charles' big ears?
The castle had a beautiful piece of skillmanship in the ceiling of the cell vault which dated back to the late middle ages. The 17C Sala Terrena (read 'Stone Theatre' ) is another large vault completely covered with a mosaic of Danube pebbles and depicts a continuum of the columns with a garden pavilion and landscape scene. There is also an artificial grotto. Grein had the most cyclists I had seen and I thought accommodation might be a problem but the first place I tried I got a large double room and the place is wonderful. It's nice when you see a place that is really thinking about its customers and not just maximizing profit. Free apples on a table, tools and clean up facility for bike maintenance, maps
and information on walls for the town and the Cycle Way and a rack of yellow umbrellas in case of rain.
It was a lovely ride along the river out of Grein after I had fixed my first puncture (and only one as it turned out). I had gone to a service station and put air in the tyres. Obviously enough to put pressure on the tube from something in the tyre which wasn't causing a problem before. It was a change in the scenery today to a wine growing region with sun on the autumn vines. There was a bit of rain as I came into Melk at 2.30pm but not enough to don the wet weather gear. The massive Melk Monastery on the top of the hill overlooking the town and Danube, while being impressive, really felt too much a religious sell. Very dramatic. For the pious it would have been meaningful. Not only do they make sure you get the Christian message at everything you see, but there is the mandatory religious souvenir shop to get through with a final attempt to get money out of you to use the toilet. Mind you it
must cost a fortune to renovate and maintain such a building with its extensive gardens and priceless treasury.
There are more photos below