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Friday, May 21, 2010

Hallstatt, Austria: Playing on the mountaintop

The sight of Hallstatt in the distance literally takes your breath away. It sits right on the edge of a lake, nestled up against the mountains in a green valley of the Alps. As a quaint little authentic Austrian village in such a beautiful setting, Hallstatt is picture-perfect from every angle. So perfect, in fact, that it's hard to believe it's actually real. We kept pinching ourselves during the entire ferry ride across the lake.

When we arrived, the ferry operator kindly locked our luggage up in the boat house--leaving us free to explore all day! Rather than begin our visit with a romantic stroll through the village, we decided to hit up the famous salt mines first and see if the weather would clear up a bit later.
Forty-four Euro later, we were on the cable car heading to the mines high up the mountain. We found a little picnic table with an amazing view of the valley, whipped out the last bit of our PB&J (that we'd brought from Delaware to ensure a few cheap meals), and enjoyed our lunch!
We then went on our little nature walk in the Alps to get to the mines. Along the way, we saw a herd of sheep, beautiful flowers, and a statue of Saint Barbara (see, Mom? You really are a saint!).
Once we arrived, they hooked us up with some extremely flattering jump suits and the tour guide lead us to the tunnel.
Although I'm sure the tour was very educational, Matt and I made our own fun by concocting "scary" stories about the mines as we walked through the narrow and dimly-lit tunnels and shafts. The fateful, ridiculously detailed story we came up with about Hans, his runaway mine cart, and his distraught girlfriend that haunt the mines still makes me laugh.
And our favorite part of the tour? You know, the reason we dropped a whopping $65 on the excursion? The long wooden slides down the mines (there were multiple) and cute little train ride back up. Yep, we are that easily entertained. They should consider selling tickets for just those parts. Seriously.
We walked out of the mines and into gorgeous sunshine. Our plan worked! Just when you thought Hallstatt couldn't be any more beautiful, the sun danced across the valley and lit up the village. So we took a few more pictures from the mountain, rode the cable car back down to the town, and then commenced our romantic stroll through the tiny streets along the lakeside.
But this post is already too long so that part will just have to wait :-)

10 comments:

  1. omgosh..wow..love the pix - what a neat place! and those slides looked way fun! Do you have people take pix of you guys or do you have a tripod?

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  2. We do a good mixture of both! We're both outgoing and don't mind talking to total strangers :-) If there are people around also taking pictures, we'll usually suggest a picture swap (we take one of them, they take one of us). But sometimes we have to get really creative! We'll prop our camera on whatever is around and use the 10-second timer.

    For example, in the first & last pictures of us in this post, we were on a little 4-foot-wide bridge with a big drop beneath us. We looped the camera's little wrist strap around the 1-inch railing on the other side to secure it and carefully propped it up, then used the timer. For the one of us with the trail, the camera was propped on one of the wooden posts. Whatever works!

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  3. I was also wondering how you get so many great pics of the two of you! Your camera-propping timer shooting skills are impressive! And so are all the pictures of this beautiful village!

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  4. OMG that looks SO fun! Especially the slide and stuff. I love that they gave you jumpsuits to wear in the mines! Honestly I would have loved to go to that mine tour. I bet that its been fun going down memory lane posting these Europe blogs!

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  5. the photos are so great. looks like you had an amazing time.... I'm so happy for you!!!! you will always remember those moments :)

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  6. I would go just for the slides! I must be easily entertained too.

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  7. I'm stoked to head back to Austria in August now! Haha... It's so beautiful there!

    Oh, and I love the jumpsuits! Love.
    *muah*

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  8. those pictures are so awesome, it is SO green! I too have always wondered if you just ask tons of people to take pics of you guys or if you prop it on something? hahah, so funny other people wondered that too.

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  9. Linze, you MUST go! You'd love it :-)

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