Day 759: Melk to Wien

Both Melk and Vienna are on the Danube.  Thus, Laetitia decided to book passage for her group to traverse the 54 miles between them on an excursion boat.  Their route took them through the Wachau Valley past vineyards and the picturesque towns of Krems and Spitz.  Above Dürnstein, they could see the ruin of Kuenringer Castle, where King Richard I (Lionheart) of England was imprisoned for a time after being captured and held for ransom by Leopold V, Duke of Austria, after one of the crusades.  Upon arrival in Vienna, there was time for a stop at Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel for something sweet before going to the hotel.  Located near the Hofburg Palace from which the Habsburgs ruled their far-flung empire, Demel was once the supplier of pastries and chocolates to the royal family.  The Habsburgs built their empire mostly through strategic marriages rather than military conquests.  Empress Maria Theresa had sixteen children that included Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples, Maria Amalia, Duchess of Parma, and Holy Roman Emperors, Joseph II and Leopold II.  The Habsburgs also had a penchant for marrying close relatives and ultimately suffered from hemophilia and other genetic disorders associated from inbreeding.  That consideration led Laetitia to the limerick of the day.

The Hapsburgs, it’s surely been said,
Built their empire by going to bed,
With royal heirs by the dozens
Who often wed cousins
And suffered from being inbred.