Thur - Sep 12
Woke to a cloudy sky and light rain, but we still have things to do. So, off to the Salt Mines. Really. The mine is near the town of Hallein. The rain got a little harder as we drove, and we had to disagree with Helga once when she wanted to put us on what appeared to be some back road, so we followed the posted signs to the mine instead.
The mine was interesting and fun. You put on these sturdy overalls and jacket then hop on a train, which is really a bench seat about a foot wide and 15 feet long on a small rail car, which seats about 8 people in a long row. There are about 3 of these 'cars'. The train then goes down a track through a long tunnel, about a mile or so. The outfit, which includes a hood, is to keep you warm as well as protect your clothes and backside. More on that later. The tunnel temperature runs a constant 52 degrees or so.
You then walk and stop and walk some more, at one point over 800 meters, listening to a very good explanation of the mine, its history, and the importance of salt, the 'Salz' in Salzburg, and how it provided the wealth for the city and it's masters.
There is a boat ride too across an underground lake. Then another 800 meter walk through some old caves. To get down some of the caves, too steep to walk, you ride a bannister. Really. The bannister is about a foot wide, with a grove in the middle and is very smooth. This is the other reason you wear the pants, else, if you were wearing shorts or a mini skirt your cheeks, both top and bottom, would be red and or blistered. The ride down is almost like a Luge ride. You do this twice during the visit. The mine trip is 300 to 400 feet underground. The final exit though is up a very long escalator.
The total visit runs two hours. While we were waiting for our tour number to pop up on the monitor the sun broke through, though the clouds were still thick, but that didn't last long as when we exited there was just more clouds and light rain.
Going back to Salzburg we decided to follow Helga. She must love finding the shortest routes. We followed a one car wide road for about 5 kilometers through the woods and, on the good side, some very scenic views and remote farm country. Every 50 meters or so, whether on a hill or flat ground, there are pullouts and everyone can see at least that far ahead so they know whether to pull over while someone is coming. This though would not be so much fun in January with heavy snow covering the road's shoulders. We made it back in 30 minutes.
We dropped what we didn't need in the room and then headed out, in the rain, with umbrellas, to find some lunch and then went to the Salzburg Museum.
They had a very good exhibit of Middle Ages paintings and religious works as well as one of the history of Salzburg up to modern times. The museum was fairly modern inside and even the bathrooms looked like they had an architect design them. For example, there were no doors to pull open to go in, just a sliding smoked glass door built in to the wall that opened into the room. They did though have doors on the stalls. Very unusual and fitting with the overall modernness.
When we were ready to leave the rain had stopped to a light drizzle and we headed back to the room to begin packing and rest. We leave early tomorrow, and we have a concert tonight at 8pm, so we don't want to leave the packing until later. That is also why this will be an early blog post as there won't be any pictures to add later and we'll update you all on the concert tomorrow.
So, tell you more then,