Very busy day today being Tommy the Tourists. As predicted, when we awoke it was absolutely pissing down with the fluidy stuff and had been most of the night. Our original plans to go to Berchtesgaden were scrapped as the main purpose for going up there is the view.
So Plan B went into action. We caught the local bus up to the Salt Mines in Durrnberg which took us about 10 minutes up hill. We were actually here 26 years ago and it was raining then!!!
Salt has been mined here since 500BC. There is a very interesting story with regards to WWII and the gold room from the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. As Hitler was making his way around Europe pillaging all its wealth, a number of individuals got together and dismantled the famous gold room panel by panel and transported it to the Salt Mines in Hallein. Here it stayed for the duration of the war. You may be asking yourself what is so interesting about that. Well, the infamous Eagles Nest where Hitler held a lot of his formal meetings was right above the salt mine where the treasure was stored!
Whilst we were underground, we actually crossed the border from Austria into Germany which was marked with a line but unfortunately did not come out in the photo at all well.
Once we arrived at the salt mine we were garbed up in some most unattractive clothing. The purpose for this was to protect our own clothing, and…..
protect our bums from friction burns?!
It was then onto a small train that took us underground about one kilometre. It was pretty rocky so we were required to hang onto total strangers sitting in front of you around the waist – just a little bit too up close and personal with total strangers.
At the end of the ride we were 200m underground and had further to go down. They invented this rather unique way of getting there quickly by using wooden slides of which we had the opportunity to try. A quick demo by our guide and then we were off.
The first slide was 27m in length whilst the second slide was 47m in length. You can now understand the patch on the back of our temporary trousers. The wood was very well polished (splinters unwelcome) which made sliding very slippery.
Once down to the lowest level we then walked about 30m and we were in Germany! We were then put on a boat and pulled across an underground salt lake which is created during the salt mining process. For Fraser it was a little uncomfortable as it was a space of 70m x 30m with no obvious signs of support for the roof. In normal mining techniques, this area would have collapsed. Sometimes, it is good not knowing some of these things.
To get out of the mine it was then a matter of catching an escalator to the surface. It was a lot of fun and our guide was very informative. She spoke first in German and then in English. It rather annoyed us as each time she started to talk in English, all the Austrian/Germans began talking which made it difficult for us to hear.
We then caught the train into Salzburg as it was only 12 midday and we needed to fill in our day with something else. It took us 25 minutes by comfortable dry 🚂.
First person of interest we came upon was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart…
and then we popped …..
around to his place…..
for a cuppa!!
Meantime, it continued with this whole precipitation thing+++++
We wandered around a few streets which were the typical shops full of Gucci, Pravda, Zara etc etc which you can find anywhere in the world. The only real original thing about the place was the unique and beautiful signs.
It was quite strange as we both felt when we first arrived in Salzburg how uncomfortably busy it was with way too many people around. This is because we have been use to being on our own a lot of the time on our bikes in the country areas. Think we prefer that.
We got tired of dodging the rain so popped in for one more cuppa and a Mozart chocolate – they were prolifically selling them so thought they must be good so just had to try one. Both agreed it was a bit so-so. Sucked in by marketing again!!!
Having exhausted our options in Salzburg we caught the train back to Hallein but on our way we had to walk across the Salzach river in Salzburg and came across this very new phenomenon that has been appearing in Europe over the last few years.
We are just turning into a couple of old cynics but apparently by securing a lock with your name and date engraved on it and then turfing the key into the river below you will remain true loves for the rest of your lives. Now, this is where we start to quote current divorce rates!!! We were more concerned about the integrity of the bridge, as these locks really add up to a lot of extra weight. A particular bridge over the river Seine in Paris had to have all the locks removed due to the added weight causing structural issues. See, we said we were just a couple of old cynics.