Well this was one long day full of activity! I warned Paul he better be prepared to keep up with me, and he passed with flying colours today! We were up early to take the 8:27 train to Salzburg, Austria, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. That has nothing to do with what we did today, just an interesting little factoid. We had tickets for 1:00 to go to Eisriesenwelt Werfen, the world’s largest ice caves. 42 km have been explored, and on our tour we walked inside for just 1 km of it. It was a really cool experience, literally! It was about zero degrees once you got in the cave, but there were oh, about a gazillion steps once you got in so we didn’t get too cold. There was this woman who was about 50 years old in our group. She was faltering quite a bit on our walk just to get to the cave entrance. The guide asked if she was OK to keep going and she indicated that she was. Every second person got a carbide lantern to take in with us. As you are walking into the cave (through a door that keeps the temperature steady in the cave) the transfer of ice cold air to warm summer air creates this really strong wind that could literally blow your hat off, it was crazy! We light our lanterns and get going. The ice sculptures are just mind blowingly beautiful. The ice is constantly melting and forming, so the sculptures are constantly evolving. As we were making our way, we passed the woman who was slow on the walk up. She didn’t have a lantern and wanted us to go ahead of her so she wouldn’t hold us back. Well, we weren’t going to leave her there in the dark and cold, so we hung back and waited. I thought she was with her family, but no one seemed to be too concerned about her. She was hurting and finally said she was going to stop and wait for another group to come down so she could exit early. She wanted us to just leave her there in the dark! I was starting to get a bit pissy that her family was ahead and didn’t wonder where their wife and/or mother was! Why were they letting strangers make sure she was safe? We didn’t mind doing it, but just thought it was odd. We left her our lantern and left her at the turnaround point. It was pitch dark in there. Now we had lost our lantern, so I remembered that my dad had given me a little LED squeeze light for my key chain so I pulled that out and used that as our light source. We weren’t allowed photos in there so check the website to see what it’s all about. http://www.eisriesenwelt.at/site/content/CB_StaticContentShow.php?file=info
This is a really cool vending machine in the Munich train station that sells designer goods. You can get change purses, T-shirts, jewellery and all sorts of other cool things.
Salzburg with the fortress in the background.
The pretzels are large here, but they don’t seem to eat them with mustard. It took me forever to ask if they had mustard because I kept forgetting to google the German word for it. It’s “senf” by the way. Also, they don’t put mustard or ketchup on McDonald’s burgers… why? And yes, I had McDonald’s again. No guilt! The bonus? You can drink beer there too!
Mozart is the man around town here.
View from the top where the cable car let us off.
The entrance to the cave is the hole right in the middle of the photo.
The path up is covered by snow sheds so the trail isn’t destroyed by avalanches in the winter.
View looking out from the entrance of the cave.
My only sneaky shot inside the cave.
High up the mountain.
Well earned reward.
Going back down the cable car.
Closer up view. We didn’t have time to visit it as well.
Back in Salzburg!
We finished our tour and walked down to the restaurant where we take the cable car back down. The nice woman is there with her husband and son and she comes over to thank us, and I was just sending dagger stares at these two losers. They weren’t from a westernized country, so I’m going to say the behaviour was cultural, but it still grinded my chops. I was going to go over and tell them off, but I just didn’t have it in me that day. Plus, we still had to ride the bus back with them for over an hour, and I didn’t want any trouble. We had a nice, cold, well deserved beer and made our way back to Salzburg. Our tour guide told us about this brewery that has fantastic beer in town. http://www.augustinerbier.at/index.php?id=brauerei_augustiner&L=1
It was founded by Augustinian monks in 1621, and the beer is still made using the old methods and traditions. You can grab some food at the different food stalls, then choose what size beer you want, and they fill up your stone mug with beer straight from the barrels and you are set. The outdoor seating was traditional German style, just big rows of tables and everyone just sits together if there isn’t a free table. It was a gorgeous beer garden with trees blanketing the tables and regular bouts of Austrians singing some sort of beer song that precedes the word PROST (the German word for toast.) I love it here. Salzburg is beautiful. I couldn’t get The Sound of Music songs out of my head for the life of me! Every time the church bells would ring it would remind me all over again and I’d be off with “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
Yup, that is a BIG beer!