Our ship docked at Dürnstein, on the Danube in Lower Austria, at about 6am. An hour later there were two more cruise ships tied up alongside us and three more tied up right behind us. Dürnstein lies in a very picturesque region on a bend in the river, right at the entrance to the Wachau Valley. We will leave here by 10.30am and cruise through the valley en route to Melk, which we should reach some time around 2pm today.

Dürnstein is a wine region and is also famous for its apricot products – jams, wines, liqueurs, cosmetics etc. It’s also, quite obviously, very popular with tourists.

Marg has had a bad cough, and stayed back to rest, but I wandered through the cobbled streets and lanes of this small medieval town for an hour or so, quite in awe of the beauty of my surroundings. The oldest date I could find was 1563 above the entrance to a rathaus, which once housed government officials.

The ruins of Kuenringerburg Castle dominate a steep hill above Dürnstein. Some members of our cruise climbed to the ruins early this morning, but I was happy enough to take on the easier challenge of climbing the steps and the hilly streets of the town.

It was Sunday morning and the church bells rang loudly at regular intervals. Locals walked to church carrying flowers. Some wore lederhosen. Children were happily skipping along the cobbled streets on their way to church with their parents.

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