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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Ever thought of visiting Saint Paul’s Abbey in Lavanttal, Carinthia? You should.

If coming from Lower Austria to the north, and driving via the Packsattel pass, you can definitely draw “a different breath of fresh air” beyond. Carinthia, the south of Austria, feels just different, more “southern” already! It’s what Pater Maximilian must have thought, as he “applied” to be taken from his original Benedictine abbey of Göttweig near Krems, Lower Austria, to the local Benedictine Abbey of Saint Paul in Lavanttal, Carinthia. “I enjoy being here very much”, he says, being one out of ten Fratres at the Benedictine convent of Saint Paul Abbey. “Ever since Pater Maximilan is here, we have seen a lot more guests arrive, and enjoy a genuine sense of openness”, another Frater tells me during our communal dinnertime. Staying at the abbey, living and eating with the monks, is by no way having to share a life in scarcity: The monks spoil us to their own wine (which is grown in Slovenia), offer us local smoked trout as well as typical delicacies from Carinthia, such as the “Kärntner Kasnudl”. We are definitely very positively surprise as to how well guests are treated here!

So how to imagine such a welcome monastery retreat? I have already shared some of my personal experiences regarding this type of travel with you here, such as visiting Saint Lambrecht Abbey in Styria, the Abbey of Melk or the Abbeys Kremsmünster & Saint Florian in Upper Austria. If there is one thing I have learned from becoming a temporary guest at either of the Austrian monasteries, grouped in an association called “Klösterreich“, then it is that all monasteries, abbeys and convents we have ever visited are alive with welcome, openness, and dialogue with visitors. Check this out.

 

Taking a peek behind the scenes of a Benedictine Abbey, being led through the herbal garden, joining the monks in prayer, visiting their library (including the oldest book of Austria, 1500 years old!), is a true cultural journey of a kind.

 

Ankommen im Stift St. Paul, entführt uns Gastpater Maximilan gleich mal in den stiftseidenen Kräutergarten ...

Having arrived at Saint Paul’s Abbey in Carinthia, we make use of the good weather to go straight to the herbal garden …

 

... und auch beim Mittags- und Abendtisch ...

… and later, during lunch and dinner, too …

 

... genießen wir gemeinsam mit der Gemeinschaft regionale Speisen ...

… we enjoy being hosted as a true community of guests and monks living together …

 

... die hier Tag für Tag frisch zubereitet werden. Drei Gänge zum Empfang beim Mittagessen: Damit haben wir nicht gerechnet!

… enjoying the food given in a three-course meal upon arrival: A really nice welcome I’d say!

 

Wer möchte, kann den Mönchen übrigens täglich um 12.00 bzw. 18.00 Uhr bei ihren Gebetsgesängen zuhören (echt empfehlenswert) ...

If you wish to do so, you can join the monks in their prayer chants each day at 12.00 noon or at 6.00 in the afternoon (an experience I recommend as a visitor to the abbey) …

 

... die Zeichen hier stehen definitiv auf Empfang und Offenheit: Pater Maximilian zeigt uns den Weg in den Gästebereich und zu unseren Zimmern ...

… later on, we are being led to our rooms for the night …

 

... sehr gemütlich ...

… very cosy indeed …

 

... und bequem sind diese obendrein, jedes mit einem eigenen, großzügig angelegten Badezimmer!

… and each comes with a large bathroom, plus another separate bedroom on top!

 

Weiter wirklich lohnenswert ist die Bibliothek des Stift St. Paul ...

Saint Paul Abbey also hosts a large, completely modernised monastery library, located in the old cellar vaults …

 

... und mit noch älteren Büchern: Fantastisch, solche Exemplare hier zu Gesicht zu bekommen !! Vor allem für einen Bücherwurm wie mich!

… home to some of the oldest books of Austria, a true treat for a book worm like me!

 

Dass das Stift St. Paul sogar eigenen Weinbrand, Essig, Schnaps und sogar Honig herstellt, habe ich Euch schon erzählt ..?

And did you know that one Frater even made it to becoming a honey, brandy, vinegar and other herbal oils producer?! Definitely worth shopping at the monastery shop before you leave!

Stift St. Paul im Lavanttal, wir sagen zum Abschied leise Servus ...

Goodbye this time, dear Saint Paul Abbey …

 

… we already look forward to our next visit here! Our monastery journey continues, though, with a visit of Wernberg Monastery near Villach, surprising us to the lovely community of nuns who manage and run their own agricultural business, among others: Read more about Wernberg Monastery here.

 

 

Monika & Petar Fuchs, who post on TravelWorldOnline.de, have also shared about their “monastery retreat” here (including videos!).

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by “Klösterreich” to explore the Austrian monasteries in Carinthia. All opinions are my own.

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Exploring the #NationalparksAustria over a hiking & "e-biking" trip through Thayatal National Park.
A spiritual type of travel in Carinthia: Wernberg Monastery and its herbal garden paradise.

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