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 made...it 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!

The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Stacy Reenacting The Sound of Music

What a title! 
But yes, it's true. Brendan was a good sport and went with me on The Sound of Music tour. I sang all the songs and reenacted all my favorite moments! 

16 going on 17 

Liesel's first kiss: 
The Hills Are Alive...

The patio and lake used in the movie (they used a different house). 


Wedding chapel 

The abbey 
How do you solve a problem like Maria ? 

Forgot to take a picture of the I have confidence street, drats! 

The tour was 4 hours, so we drove in the countryside and learned all about the real Von Trapps, movie trivia, and lots of singing. On our tour, people from Korea, Japan, India, USA...Austrians don't care much about the movie (they have their own version) but everyone else does it seems! 

Also on Saturday...
We visited the Dom Museum and saw their cabinet of curiosities (the main attraction)! We saw the archbishop's quarters and we learned about monks. We saw little wax paintings and all sorts of church treasures. No photos allowed :( 

We visited the dwarf garden. These are statues of real people that entertained at mirabelle palace. An archbishop commissioned the statues, which were later ordered to be removed and destroyed, but they were saved and returned. 

It was a good last day in Salzburg! 

But Salzburg has been VERY hot...90 degrees. We are all very over the heat wave, which should hopefully subside with rain this afternoon in Vienna. 

Yesterday's update coming soon! 
<3 S&B 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hellbrun Palace

Guys, I'm so tired! But if my wi-fi connection holds up, I can tell you all about our Friday visiting Hellbrun Palace. This was built by a prince archbishop as a retreat for his amusement and pleasure. We came for the "trick fountains," which he had designed to surprise and delight his guests (you get wet!) they were built in the 1600s. Brendan did a great job getting us there! 

Unsuspecting children. Apparently the archbishop sent his dinner guests home with wet butts 

A lot of money can build a 200 plus anametronic town powered by water pumps, just FYI. 
I laughed at him, then I got splashed from above. 

We met up with tony for a picnic and liters of beer in Europe's largest beer garden. All the tables were full, so we shared with a local musician. He was replaced with two tourists from Spain that didn't speak English. However, we shared food, photos and videos and even goodbye cheek kisses (for me). 

We have a delightful roommate here from Taiwan. He is 24 and studying plant science in Amsterdam come fall for grad school. This is his first trip away from home, but he has everything quite figured out, like more than us! I absolutely love to talk to him, and I've learned a lot from him about Taiwan. He had lots of questions for us too, and he guessed we were both 26, which made us feel good! Salzburg was our one and only hostel stop, and we lucked out with our roommate. They did give us towels the size of hand towels, but otherwise, it's basically a hotel. 

I aspire to do my Saturday update soon! We are now safe in Vienna. 
<3 S&B 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Eagle's Nest

Thursday, we left Munich and drove straight to the Eagle's Nest. The Eagle's Nest was a retreat built for Hitler as a 50th birthday gift from the party. He would use it for meetings to forward the Nazi agenda. It has been open as a museum since 1952. To get there, you take a twisty turny high in the sky bus ride, and then you ride an elevator 124 stories. The views are beautiful, but the elevator (which is the same one used back then) and the building have a creepy vibe. Earlier in this trip, we were in a Nazi bunker, and I had to leave, I felt so much negative energy. 

This is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. While
I felt angry thinking of the injustices that were planned and ordered here, I also felt that it was positive that not everything beautiful was ruined. The Eagles nest has a new purpose now, and the world continues to heal. 

You can't help but feel happy and alive up here. 

After the Eagles nest, we drove into Austria. We're in Salzburg for 3 nights. 

I'm in love with Austria. 
I've been eating lots of this Mac and cheese type dish and gnocchi. Pasta galore! 
We did laundry load number 6 today (47 days on the road, not bad). I am sleeping in my 19th bed of the trip.
 I am missing my cats like crazy, especially when I saw a missing cat poster with a picture that looked identical to Lola. 
My favorite movie, The Sound of Music, was in part filmed here! 
And I've been singing it...a lot! 
<3 S&B 

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