Up a little earlier than usual this morning. We had our usual breakfast and then walked on down to Mirabellplatz to get the 9:20AM Post-Auto bus to Bad Ischl. We got 3 tickets for 102AS each from the machine and then we checked out the Farmer’s Market wagons being set up behind the bus stop. There were 5 in all including a ‘meat wagon’, cheese wagon, and a fresh vegetables wagon. The platz across the street was being set up with many more wagons but we didn’t get a chance to check them out because the bus came, right on schedule. We had a great ride through the country on a mostly cloudy morning but the sun broke through occasionally. We went through about 5 quaint little towns set around 2 pretty good size lakes and began to see the snow capped mountains. The bus schedule posted at the bus stop in Bad Ischl said that we had over an hour wait for the bus to Hallstatt. We decided to look for the train station and found a T.I. Station on a pole with a hard-to-read map, but it got us pointed in the right direction. While walking through the town, we found many painted lions, similar to the fish in New Orleans and the pigs in Seattle. We took a picture of one of the lions and then we found a sign pointing to the bahnhof and walked into the station five minutes before the train to Hallstatt arrived. So we decided to use our Euro-rail passes today and we’ll finish our trip to Hallstatt and back to Salzburg, by train. The ferry was waiting for us when the train stopped at the Lake station directly across from Hallstatt. Coming in to Hallstatt this way provided us with a spectacular view of the beautiful, picturesque little ‘Markt’ – “ bigger than a village, smaller than a city”, sitting in a small valley on the water and surrounded on all sides by steep, snowcapped mountains. We got our 25AS one-way ferry tickets from the boat captain on our way across the lake. Since the sun was shining right now, we figured we better do our picture taking first and then go to the salt mine later. We walked around through the town, found the Tourist Center and really nice, clean W.C.’s. Checked out both the Catholic Church up on the hill and the protestant church down in the town. Just like night and day – as usual! We found a little restaurant that featured strudel and ordered their special of the day – apple strudel. They didn’t have any apple today! So we ordered cherry strudel in a vanilla sauce with a dollop of whipped cream and a cup of “ Original Arabian” coffee. It was all really good! After lunch, we walked up to the funicular station and got R/T tickets for 105AS ea. to get us to and from the salt mine. The train went over 500 feet – almost straight up! From the station, it was another 10-15 min. hike up the mountain to the Salzbergen Mine office building where we got our tickets (140AS) and our coveralls that protected our own clothes. The train ride into the mine (straddling the beam like a horse) only went about a quarter of a mile into the mountain. We walked in the tunnel for about another 1/4 mile, slid down the long slide, and walked another mile to see the movie about where the salt comes from the salt lake. And then we walked another couple miles back through the tunnels where we saw the lake, slid down another slide and finally made it to the train and the short ride out. So now we can say – “Been There and Done That”! It was interesting but very overblown… The hike back to the funicular was downhill and much easier going. We kind of rushed through town to get back to the ferry before it left at 5:05, so we had enough time to quickly down a beer with the ferry captain before heading across the lake to catch the train. We arrived back at the Salzburg Bahnhof at 7:30PM, took the #6 bus to the Altstadt across the river and had dinner at the Spanish restaurant – Maredo. We went looking for the Mozart statue, finally found it, got some pictures and then walked back to the hotel and watched CNN ‘til 10:30PM and then to bed.


© Virginia E. Vail 2012