That’s right, I’m back already. I am blog-master this week. If you read my previous post, it was all about Kenny and I touring Austria, and it left off on our last day in Salzburg. This last day was a big day. Salzburg was pretty excellent as a city in itself but my favorite part was seeing the mountains and countryside just outside.
To get there we had to rent a car; Kenny was pretty pumped about this part. Not only is driving through the Alps a pretty incredible experience, it has also been awhile since he’s driven a comfortable car he can actually fit in.
We named him Mario, for obvious reasons…
First stop with Mario was Hellbrunn Palace: home to the “16-going-on-17” gazebo! (Sound of Music again.) Also it’s encompassed in a beautiful garden and spacious park, but like everything else it was all in deep, deep, deep, deep snow. Again though, we can all agree that fresh snow possesses it’s own idyllic beauty.
We had a lengthy agenda for the day so time was of the essence. The gazebo was the objective; an exceedingly easy one as it was rather conveniently located immediately upon entering the park. Obviously, I took the opportunity to recreate the classic scene as best I could solo, as my “Rolfe” was reluctant. There’s a video, I made a great Liesl.
He wasn’t completely useless, though:)
With the eternal winter going on the park was a brilliant white sheet. Outside of the paths it was completely undisturbed providing an ethereal beauty. Short lived though, as it was excellent packing snow. After a few snowball attacks we were on our way to the mountains.
Now, in order to carry on the Sound of Music theme and *bonus* avoid driving aimlessly up a mountainside, we set our course to “Mehlweg.” Mehlweg is the lovely little spot where Julie Andrews spins gracefully in a circle singing “The Hills are Alive” song like a freaking angel. Of course I reenacted this. There’s a video, though I will say spinning with grace in two feet of snow is not an easy feat. Also, angel singing was never in the cards.
Before we arrived at the gorgeous mountainside, however, we had a bit of trouble figuring out where we were able to stop and park… All locations at the end of the road were seemingly private homes. We were very confused and drove around like chickens with our heads cut off until we found a little café. The little café was, of course, closed because we were the only mad people to be around when the blizzard of Caradhras basically just happened up there (Lord of the Rings reference… google it).
But! The bright side of this failed side quest was that we saw the biggest buck we’ve ever seen (come to think of it I’ve seen zero bucks in my life) just chilling in the snow with his does… haha does, like hoes. That could not have worked out better.
Alright… admittedly, that was probably three too many deer photos. I regret nothing.
After I took about 27 more deer photos (mostly they’re the same shot) Kenny finally dragged me to the car to head back to the Mehlweg. Once there we basically just parked at someones house and got out of the car hoping not to get yelled at.
Boy, was it a sight. Again, photos hardly do it justice. You just cannot capture 360˚ of majestic beauty in a photograph. That didn’t stop me trying…
Naturally, as we were surrounded by unblemished snow, Ken got me again. Here’s a photo montage depicting the blitz snowball attack, right in the noggin.
Kenny decided against throwing me into the snow, and instead granted me safe passage due largely to the fact I’m carrying his spawn.
Again, because I am cheap and unwilling to pay for this blog service I cannot post videos. Though, I am planning on putting together a video of our fun adventure at a later date so my terrible rendition of “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” will have to wait. I’m sure you’re devastated. Here’s a nice screen grab though:)
This next photo is a failed attempt at showcasing the beauty of the sun shining through the clouds and mountaintops. I thought it was worth sharing still because check out how smooth and clear the roads are… Very impressive, Middle-of-Nowhere, Austria.
Okay, this post is a long one so hang in there…
Next stop: the Salt Mines.
Even if you are a big fan of salt (who isn’t?) this probably doesn’t sound like a very cool experience… but I promise you, it was awesome. As I stated in my last post: back in the medieval times, salt was a huge (the hugest) resource for Salzburg and the surrounding towns. These mines are still functioning today albeit much more efficiently. The labor 500 years ago was agonizingly slow and back-breaking. Nowadays they use drills and technology. Hooray for innovation.
At the start of the tour we got these awesome salt mining costumes…
By the way… If you’re interested here’s how crazy old this mine is…
In order to get down to the mine we took an awesome little mine coaster, it was seriously comfortable. Since photography was strictly prohibited I had to sneak the photos: stealth mode.
Here’s some fun shots of us on the coaster. It was pitch black for the most part, besides our headlights and the line of lanterns sprinkled throughout the tunnels. We didn’t want to get off of it, you went fast, but not too fast… it was like a lounging coaster of relaxation. Except for Giant Kenny, he was mildly concerned about decapitation.
My stealth mode was kind of awful… I know the tour guy saw me. The combination of my anxiety about a possible confrontation and my need to follow the rules really spoiled my resolve. This is a pretty nice one though… It’s the mine slide we went down: also super fun. Could’ve slid down it 15 more times.
The use of multimedia and lighting made for a very cool and informative showcase depicting the use of water in the process. If I understood correctly, once a salt bed was exposed they would flood the cavern, thus creating brine. Then, through use of a lumber well, they would draw the brine up and evaporate the water. Seems a lot easier than it was, I guess. Plus, exposing the salt bed was the excruciating task. Apparently, lots of people died from dehydration due to being surrounded by sodium. Yeesh… took a turn there, didn’t it?
After another awesome slide and a few more multi media presentations we came to the subterranean Salt Lake. It was so still it was a near-perfect mirror. It gave off an eerie, “there may or may not be Inferi underneath the surface” vibe.
We got on the boat and started to cruise across the water. All the sudden it went pitch black… until a light show began. I’m not sure how much you can get out of these photos but just know it was a really cool show and set to lovely twinkling music.
After we disembarked we tasted the water from the lake… I’m fairly certain there’s nothing saltier in existence. We also got to check out the ventilation systems: super necessary, not super interesting. I think it’s enough that I threw it a mention.
Next, YAY, we got to get back on the mine coaster!
We begrudgingly decoastered and were met with the chill of the open air! We gave back our sweet coveralls and checked out the salt shop. Fun fact: the salt they produce is the brand we buy at our grocery store here. Prrretty cool/fun.
Before heading back to Mario I snapped a lovely little creek photo…
We went to a local restaurant and had a delicious Bavarian meal before heading back towards Salzburg. The drive back through the winding roads of the Alps with the setting sun as a backdrop was truly a beautiful sight.
Once we got back to the city we grabbed some coffee and dessert before heading to our next appointment: the escape room. Kenny is obsessed with these things. I enjoy them too, but his level of excitement over them is adorable. He looks one up in every new city we go to. This one was particularly spectacular. We nailed it too.
The sweet victory was a great cap to the long, eventful day. We headed back to the hotel exhausted, happy, and ready to catch a train to Vienna in the morning.
Kenny’s already on his way…
Vienna waaaits for you 🙂
If you haven’t already seen it, check out this short video I made with our GoPro. It features the events of this blog and a few things from Vienna. Click the code below 🙂