The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
Trip End Oct 04, 2005

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Flag of Austria  ,
Thursday, September 1, 2005

Highlights in this entry:

Marveling at Vienna's architecture
The Sound of Music Tour
Salt Mine Tour
Ice Caves Tour

30 August

Today, we set out to visit some of the local palaces in Vienna (one had a labyrinth!). The pictures are more descriptive than anything I could write, so I'll just leave it at that. At night, we went to a wine garden for some authentic Austrian cuisine and wine.

31 August

We made our way to Salzburg, Austria where our first quest was to go on the Sound of Music tour. This tour took us around Salzburg and the neighboring mountains and lakes where much of the movie was filmed. If Sara were writing this entry, she would say that driving through the Alps on a luxury tour bus while listening to the soundtrack is her idea of heaven. But since Sara is not writing this entry and I have not seen the film in years, my experience with the tour was a bit different: The hills were asleep from the sound of boredom. Fortunately for me, they served beer on the bus. So by the end of the tour, we were all merrily skipping and singing "Do-Re-Mi" and clicking our heels to "How do you solve a problem like Maria?".

I have one man to thank for strongly recommending this experience to my wife. His name is Chad Nicholson. Yes, ladies. He's 25, single, and in touch with his feminine side. If you're looking for a metrosexual, musical loving, hopeless romantic, email me soon for his contact information (he's not getting any younger). Chad, now we're even.

Admittedly, there was one redeeming part of the tour. We stopped in the mountains to ride the Alpine the Alps. If you aren't familiar with this nifty summer attraction, do yourself a favor, stop reading, and proceed immediately to Colorado to try one out. You take a ski lift to the top of a mountain and then slide on a toboggan down half-pipes. Über cool.

At night, we did the majority of our Salzburg exploration, including Mozart's house, the local cathedral, and the city fortress. On a side note, Salzburg has some of the best street performers that we have ever seen (see the video clip of the guy playing Tchaikovsky with crystal glasses and water).

1 September

We kicked off this day of adventure by taking a tour of some local salt mines (for which Salzburg was named). While this initially sounds dull, what we encountered on the tour was one of our favorite things we've done on this trip. We started by donning white miner's clothing. Then we entered the mines on a train that took us a few hundred meters under ground. On the journey, we crossed the Austrian-German border underground. There were seven levels to the mine and to get from one level to another, you slide down very long slides. At one level, we took an underground boat ride across a salt lake. A few hours later, the tour was complete and we took the train back out of the mine. This is another one that is best described with the pictures and videos.

After the salt mine tour, we set out on our next adventure: spelunking in the world's largest ice caves, located 2500 meters up in the Alps. It involved a lot of hiking, a cable car, and then a lot more hiking. But eventually we reached the caves. They handed each of us an oil lantern and we walked from 85 degree weather to below freezing inside the caves. Unlike caves in America that are wired and equipped with huge spotlights, you could only see in these caves by the candlelight. This effect was very hard to capture with the camera, but the gleam on the huge ice formations was breathtaking. Think stalactites, stalagmites, lakes, and waterfalls...all made of ice. After an hour and a half of exploration, we ventured back out into the blazing Austrian sun.

On the way home, our tour van got a flat. A couple of burly Austrians pulled over to help me change the tire while the passive Canadian guy on our tour just sat back and watched. Typical, eh?

Austria has proven to be one of our favorite countries that we've visited. The scenery is unparalleled, the architecture is stunning, the food is...well, just look at my enlargening belly, and the people are exceptionally friendly.

Upcoming Events:

Switzerland and some scenic train rides
Something VERY exciting that I won't spoil by mentioning here. Keep watching.

Until next time...
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fuschiaeastwood on

with bill
Im with bill on the sound of music tour. Ive never been a fan of the movie, too much hype and singing for me.

rickbranstetter on

Ice Caves
Not only is it great seeing and reading about your travels, but I'm also learning new information. The ice caves were intriguing. You said it was freezing in there ... what was the temperature?

Grandfather's Metairie home did not flood. He has lost all of his gutters, but no water. Now he just has to wait for power and water to be turned on. That may take weeks. We had Grandma and Grandpa come over to have a Labor Day picnic with him. We all sat on the patio over looking the Missouri River for over three hours eating and chatting.

We will be moving Sunny into her apartment on Wednesday.

rickbranstetter on

Re: so not a metrosexual
I'm not really interested on betting about the number of 'takers' to Bill offering you up to the women. However, if it wouldn't cost me any money, I would be curious.
Mr. Branstetter (Bill's dad)

billandsara on

Re: so not a metrosexual
Surprisingly, not a single female has inquired about your contact information. Lucky for you, I did get one email from a guy named Don who said you were just his type. Interested? ;)

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