Europe . Austria . Salzburg: Welcome to the Salt Mines

Friday, September, 22nd, 2006

We visited the Salt Mines in the nearby town of Hallein and it proved to be a very time-consuming activity. We decided to walk up to the mine since it was only 3 km and we didn´t have our giant backpacks with us. The way up to the top of the mountain was very scenic, we took a lot of photos, but it was also very tuckering and a tad scary since there wasn´t a designated sidewalk anywhere along the path. Cars are allowed to drive up the winding roads on the mountain at about 80km\hr and there were a lot of shrines\memorials along the pathway which we assumed were put there for people who had died at that spot by being hit by a car. We also found a nice waterfall and stream along the way which Tyler was enamoured with (and I´m pretty sure that walking to that waterfall through the bushes is where I got the tick that I found attached to my hip the next day). The walk up the mountain took about 40 minutes and we were pretty sweaty by the time we got to the top, but that made the cold temperature of the salt mines more inviting.

The salt mine was very fun to see, our tour was all in German so it was totally incomprehensible. There was also some parts of the tour where everyone would chant the same few German words, and it´s pretty scary when you have no idea what these 20 or so strangers are all chanting.... but luckily nobody tried to roast us over a fire or anything. The salt mine tour consisted of looking at lots of crystallized salt on the walls (and Tyler did his best not to lick the walls although it was very tempting) and walking through tight spaces (which luckily I didn´t freak out during even though I´m pretty claustrophobic). The highlight of the trip was going down these slides in the middle of the mine, you got to go down it in pairs or groups so Tyler and I went down together and you get your picture taken on it like a roller coaster ride (you can see the photo when we´re back home).

Our tour guide referred to us by the name of "English" whenever we were doing something that we weren´t supposed to. I thought that was pretty funny, Tyler and I start walking in one direction and then you hear "No, English!" and we knew what she meant.

My most embarrassing moment so far from the trip was when I got locked in a bathroom at the train station. I didn´t realize that it was a pay toilet and went in and closed the door and then couldn´t open it back up, I was peaking through this tiny crack in the door saying "Help!" and cursing myself for not knowing how to say help in German. Luckily the lady in charge of the toilet let me out with her key and then I paid her and got to use the toilet finally. It was quite the ordeal.

-Jenny the panicker-

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