Salt Mines

Trip Start Jun 29, 2012
Trip End Aug 07, 2012

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Flag of Austria  , Salzburg,
Saturday, July 7, 2012

We had heard the salt mine tours were a fun time, so we walked back to the train station and bought the "salt ticket." This allowed us to ride the train and then bus to get to the attraction, got us into the tour, and then worked for transportation home as well. It was highly convenient!

When we got there we were given white coveralls to wear while on the tour. First we rode on a little train-thing, straddling the seat and sitting each person behind the next (like when you ride the Matterhorn in Disneyland). It took us into the mines. Then our smartly dressed guide would give us information in both German and English. We would watch a segment of video about the history of salt mining and it's effect on the wealth of the nearby town of Salzburg. Then we got to ride the slides (which apparently the miners used to get to the lower levels of the mine easily.) This was fun! Bryan and I, of course, slid down together.

We kept walking through the dark, faintly damp tunnels until our guide shared with us something unexpected. We would now be crossing, underground, the border into Germany. :)

As we went deeper into the mine we learned how they used to fill large leeching chambers full of fresh water, and after some time (when the salt from the cavern walls and floor had gotten into the water) they would pump the brine out and heat it up to evaporate the water and get the salt. Then we got on a boat to ride across one of these chambers that was full of brine.

At this point, another unexpected thing occurred, and I am hard-pressed to describe it here. As the boat started across the small lake, colored lights began to shine, playing about the cave walls and the fun mirrors placed (inexplicably) to the right of us on the wall. And the music they played... yeah I have no words. Bryan and I were dumbfounded at the cheesy turn our tour had suddenly taken as we crossed back into Austria. Bryan felt they had maybe wanted to make the boat ride "epic" and then had to admit, "Well, it is the most epic underground cruise I've ever been on."

With that oddity behind us we continued the tour. There were more exhibits and tunnels and video clips. Our Austrian guide finally told us that "This is the end from our tour" and gave us each a small shaker of salt.

All-in-all it was a very amusing way to spend an afternoon. After looking at our pictures in the gift shop, we got on the bus and then the train back to Salzburg.

This was another of those Rick Steves things.  We had seen him take a salt mine tour on his show and we thought it looked like fun.  It was.  Although the cheesy light show has to be seen to be believed.  

Going to Germany kept being a running joke for us.  We found ourselves unexpectedly across the border from Austria to Germany on several occasions.  Corssing the border underground was worth quite a laugh for us.
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Ann on

Ah fun....I was trying to think back if we had a light show or not....but it doesn't seem like it....they did have lights that showed you the bottom though. We still have our little salt shakers! :-) Now...our tour was in Germany, even though we were staying in Salzburg. I wonder if it is a different mine? or the same? sounded so similar. However, I remember accidentally leaving the country w/o our passports and praying they wouldn't check on the way back in after our salt tour.

Andrea on

That's awesome. :) I'd so have been thinking Phantom of the Opera!

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