Sept. 20: Our Fulbright orientation week concluded on Friday with a group tour up the Donau. Our first stop was Stift Melk (the name literally means “Gift Melk”) – a gift of the Emperor Leopold II in 1089. The structure began as the castle of Leopold I, who ruled “Ostarrîchi” from its first historical mention in 996. It continued to serve the emperors in succession, and its (to my taste extremely overblowwm) ornamentation continues to reflect its function as an imperial place of worship. The abbey was founded by Benedictine monks, and preserves a number of precious early copies of the Rule of Benedict and many other ancient books and artifacts dating to the early middle ages. Unlike the National Bibliothek, they are not on loan to the public! In the 12th century the abbey added on a school, and it continues as a Catholic parochial school to this day. The last boarding student left only a few years ago.