Ice Cold Cave..

Trip Start Apr 12, 2008
Trip End Jun 18, 2008

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Monday, May 12, 2008

<Brian's brief chronological list of "highlights" (and of whinging)>
- Went to the Mirabell Gardens to watch a brass band play in the morning. This was pretty cool, except we didn't know the songs they were playing and Lang got bored pretty quick.. hah!
- Went on a tour to the Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves in Werfen. The tour bus leaves you at the bottom of the car park and you have to walk a good 30 minutes uphill where you take a cable car (which survived WW2) to a higher point where you hike another 30 mins uphill to get to the caves themselves. As you enter, every fourth person gets a lamp and you walk another 700 steps uphill through the first 1km of the 42km cave. The caves had a glacier inside and lots of ice... what else did you expect?
<Lang's Extended Version>
According to Rick, every Sunday morning a brass band played at the Mirabell gardens, so we went to check it out. We arrived about 15 minutes early, and spotted a bear in the playground with someone's jumper over its head, looking like it was held hostage or something. Of course we took a couple of pics and also played on the equipment for a while. The hammock swing was cool - I want one! But Brian said that it looked like a giant condom.. =P
It was soon time to head off, so we went in search for the band.. We eventually found them surrounded by people of all ages and nationalities. It was wonderful to see a lot of the locals in their traditional dresses and lederhosen, even the young children.
We stood around listening to the band play some traditional music for a while before walking back to the old town as we needed to be back at Mozartplaz at 12.30 to be picked up to go on another tour. We were headed to the Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves in Werfen.
We were picked up and transferred onto a larger bus, luckily there were only about 20 or so of us altogether, which I'm guessing would have helped the tour guide as it was her very first trip and it showed. I guess you have to start somehow and somewhere..
The bus took us an hour out from Salzburg to Werfen, and then halfway up the mountain side, where we had to walk uphill for about half an hour. After all the walking over the past 4 weeks, Brian and I powered up there - not that we were fit or anything, but we just managed.
The walk took us up to the cable car station, which was built over 50 years ago and is the steepest in all of Europe. It was no bigger than the size of an elevator, but this did not stop them from packing us in like sardines. What we thought would only fit about 8, they shoved at least 15 or 16 people in there.
Anyway, we made it to the top in about 2 minutes and had to walk yet another 30 minutes uphill. This time I took my time as the others dawdled along also. Besides, the view on the way to the top was fantastic..
Once we reached the entrance of the cave, we could feel the cold draft coming out from inside, so we put on our jackets that we bought along - unlike the crazy (stupid) macho type guys there in their t-shirts and shorts. It wasn't long before the tour started and the guy taking us on the tour told us about the history and how the caves were found before making us line up to enter the cave.
These Ice Caves are the biggest and largest in the world, there are 42km of cave structure in the mountain side, but luckily for us, we only had to walk the first kilometer inside the cave, but that also involved 1400 steps - 700 up or 134m of climbing, and another 700 back down.. yeehaa.. It did keep us warm though!
Just over an hour later, our tour came to an end and as you were heading out the door, the pressure of the wind just pushed you out in a rush. It felt incredible.
Once again, we had to walk back down the mountain, go down on the cable car, and walk again until we reached the bus.
While on the tour, we got talking to an Aussie guy that was working as a tour guide himself, and he had recommended an organic Indian vegan place. So when we were dropped back at the old town at around 7pm, that's where we headed.. Yes, even Brian had the plate-of-the-day which consisted of 3 different types of veggie curry with rice. He did say that's all the veggie that would last him for the rest of the trip, but we'll see...
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