Monday, July 21, 2014

Hallstatt Salt Mine

On Sunday, we said goodbye to Salzburg and headed to Vienna via the slow and scenic route through Hallstatt. This makes the drive an hour and 45 minutes longer, but I had read it was a beautiful drive and it was. Mountains, lakes, green green grass, tall pines...I felt like we were driving through heaven! 

Once we reached Hallstatt, I saw this funicular going straight up the mountain 

Little did I know I would soon be on it! I was a little scared. But I wanted to see the salt mine, and I definitely wasn't going to climb up there. 
At the top: 

We were in the clouds

We still had a ways to walk uphill to get to the mine: 

Once there, it was time to suit up: 
It's really cold in the salt mines, plus you have to slide down on your butt, thus the protective gear. The slide after this went straight down, so I couldn't even photograph it. It was fun!

I learned all about salt and how it's was being mined here 7,000 years ago. They know because they found a preserved miner's body from the prehistoric age...Brendan kept telling me we were going to be trapped and preserved in salt too. This was, less than helpful. 

It was too dark for photos, but at the end, we rode a mine car

We had no seatbelts of any kind. I can only hope these methods of transport have good safety records! 

Our guide, Gerhard, took a selfie with me. He was super serious. 

After going down the mountain, we checked out the bone house. Hallstatt today has less than 1,000 people, but there isn't much burial space, so bone houses were necessary back in the day. The skulls were decorated and everyone was cool with touching their loved ones bones. 

I can't believe I have a skeleton. 

We arrived in Vienna at 8:30. Brendan and I had to go park the car in a park and ride...the process took an hour and involved getting caught in a big thunder storm. It was kind if romantic because it was in Vienna, but would have been more romantic if I wasn't wearing open toed shoes. We ate bad pizza at 11pm, but I didn't care that the pizza was bad, it was a darn good day!

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