Day 8: Berchtesgaden Salt Mines & Salzburg 

When planning this vacation Richard did a really good job of reminding me that we were traveling with four kids, and touring cathedrals and museums would get tedious.  So I did some research and tried to choose some activities that the kids would enjoy, but that would also be culturally relevant.  My friend Suzy told me about some salt mines in Austria and so we planned that for Saturday morning.  It wasn’t too far from our Eurocamp, but we got a late start.  We also made a stop in a small town to get some cash (just in case) and that took much longer than it should have, but like I’ve mentioned before, these are the things you don’t realize ahead of time.  It’s really amazing to me (although very inconvenient) how businesses in Europe shut down on the evenings and weekends.  It’s admirable, but also not at all what we Americans are used to.   

We got to the mines a little before noon and bought our tickets, but there was a time delay before our entrance to the mine, so we got brats and chips for lunch while we waited.  Then we queued up for our tour, changed into these awesome jumpsuits, and boarded a mini-train to take us deep into the earth.  

The mine tour was really cool and really fun.  We had audio guides in English but our actual tour guide spoke in German, so I think we missed some info. But there were these slides, that I think were formerly used for moving equipment and materials further down into the mine, but now they let you slide down them in your jumpsuit and it was such a thrill. Some of our kids were nervous but they all loved it in the end.  It was the best part for sure.  Learning about the mining process was also really interesting, and there was a salt lake inside the mine that we ferried across that was really beautiful.  

I didn’t get any pictures inside the mine, but you can see some on the website, or read more about The Salt Mine Berchtesgaden. 

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Someone was being a stinker…

The salt mines weren’t too far from Salzburg and I really wanted to go there, so we drove there next.  We arrived in the afternoon and didn’t have any particular plans, so we mostly did a lot of walking.  
After we parked we walked along the Salzach River, and across the bridge toward the town center.  We stopped in the market square for ice cream, and for a photo-op with Herbie. 
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Mozart was born in Salzburg, and became famous there before moving to Vienna for better opportunity.

From the market square we walked up to the castle, and then took a stroll through the hills and woods of Salzburg, which offered fewer crowds and nice views.  
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The Salzburg Cathedral

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The Salzburg Castle

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The hills are alive, with the sound of music…

The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg, and I had grand ideas of visiting various locations, but only made it to this one.  Unfortunately by this point we were all a bit cranky and I was feeling too ornery to gather the kids for a copy-cat picture (and we were short a teenager or three), so this side-by-side will have to do. 
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From the terrace at the Museum of Modern art, over-looking the city.

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From the same terrace.

After some misunderstandings about exactly where we were going and how we were getting there, we finally found our way down from the hills and back into the city.  We were all really hungry, and I was dying for some authentic schnitzel and strudel but it was still a little too early I guess and nothing was open.  We had to settle for a hamburger place that was SO American, but at least  tasted good and filled our bellies. 
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Mozart’s childhood home.

Salzburg was really lovely, and we just barely saw a small part of it.  It was our last day in Austria, and although I’m still disappointed about the strudel, I’m mostly just grateful to have gotten to appreciate such a beautiful country.  

**Post Edit for the sake of the memory: After we got back to the Eurocamp it was still light outside so we walked over to the playground/swimming area where there was a ropes course we had seen but hadn’t tried yet.  It looked pretty straightforward so we started out on it.  It turned out to be extremely challenging, and the littles had to just sort of hop on and off when and where they could. Cameron ended up falling in the creek beneath, and the rest of us got our fair share of scrapes and bruises, but we all had some good laughs as well. I wish I had taken pictures, but I really wanted to be in on the action, and it wasn’t a safe place for a camera.  Good times. (Although I think Cameron might not agree…)

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