Baroque, the style that elsewhere along the Danube can be described as elegant and playful, seems to have lost all its lightheartedness at the Göttweig monastery. The only thing that counts is to impress. Gottfried Bessel, the 50th abbot, had tight connections to the imperor. He dreamed about a Austrian Escorial on his hilltop, overlooking the Danube and Krems in the distance. After a fire in 1718, which, so is told, he lit himself, there was space for his ambitions. A huge, square pleasure palace was erected. The gold foil blinds your eyes in the abbey church, but more then only sumptuous everything looks heavy and ponderous. Photo Paul Smit.