11.10.2010 - 12.10.2010
This country is truly beautiful and even the train ride is amazing as the picture perfect scenery slips by you can’t help but just sit back and enjoy it. The train ride takes you along the river Drau northwards and then into the mountains with the spectacular forests and fields also well represented along the way.
Salzburg is a lovely city like so many others in Europe and it’s really easy to enjoy just walking around the town a bit before nightfall. After this it was time to check out the bar as the whole hostel was seemingly filled by Aussies which gave the place a great atmosphere and ensured we all had a good time.
The next day a couple of us checked out the ice caves in the afternoon and it was such an amazing experience as we first headed into the mountains again. These were just incredible, I think one day I will get tired of seeing these but that day hasn’t come yet! The views were nothing short of stunning and included looking out over the top of a hilltop fortress. Part of our trip included a couple of hikes and it was great to hike up to the point where we would ride the cable car. This was an experience in itself as it is the steepest cable car in Europe, and whilst it was a really cool experience there were more than a couple of us that were just a fraction nervous especially when it began to rock after passing a pylon - still we made it up safe and sound. The ice caves were awesome as we wandered through for an hour with little more than an old lamp to guide us, walking through taking in the sculptures that the wind had carved through the caves. The two most interesting sculptures are one that looks remarkably like a polar bear and one that resembles an elephant. There are also some really cool tunnels and ice walls also and were made all the more amazing by the guide who used burning magnesium ribbon to provide bright light to further enhance the beauty of the ice.
After the ice caves we all headed out to an old monastery that had been converted into a few beer halls, yep you read that correctly. The strangest thing was walking in through the door there was no indication of this as you walk through the main hallway with nothing but religions pictures before walking through a less than well advertised door with a painting of Christ on it. After this point it changes completely and you have a long line of fast food stalls before seeing the entrances to the beer halls. The cool thing here is that you select your own stein off the wall and wash it yourself before paying to have your stein filled, this does give you a nice sense of ownership over your stein however the fact that they are all the same does not avoid confusion at the table! This was a really strange but great night as everybody got on so well that we decided that we should be a family and have names for each other (I am now known as Papa Trav, head & authority of the family) which was really fun. Having a family meeting at 5am when we were drunk to draw up the family tree was perhaps taking it a little far!