Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Salzburg, Austria

Soooooo, yeah. Just getting our Austria pics posted. But these are worth the wait. This was my first time in Austria and we just did the Salzburg area. Someday we will get back and hit Vienna. That said, I love Austria! The apt we stayed in (Casa Vivian) was nice, just on the outskirts of downtown Salzburg.  The owner not so great, but we survived. We checked in that morning, got settled, then headed downtown to the gardens and to the fortress for the afternoon. The kids loved running around after being in the car most the day.


 The kid posing in the top tier of the Palace Gardens. The fortress is behind them on the hill. Pretty cool. 

Berlin was lovin' this unicorn statue. It was pretty great, so we let her climb on it. I was a little nervous about letting her, like maybe it was bad, but there was a mirror statue of another unicorn on the other side of the steps and kids were climbing all over that one too. Made me feel better about my parenting skills.

Finley found this lion and of course had to do the same thing Berlin did.

This fountain was right in the heart of the historic center. We walked past it to get to the fortress lift. Berlin loved all the horses in it and wanted her picture with it. Such a cutie.


After the gardens we took the funicular up the mountain (the kids always loved these mountain lift rides). The fortress is a pretty amazing building and the views were beautiful.


View of Salzburg from the fortress courtyard.

 The next day we drove to the salt mines just outside of Salzburg up in the mountains. It was such a fun learning experience. Definitely worth doing. Here we are all suited in to go in. We got in on the first tour of the day. It's pretty wet and muddy in the mine so everyone has to wear special clothing before going down. 


This mine is actually on the boarder of Austria and Germany. So, about half-way thru the tour you come to this point. This is the border line. Ryan and the kids as we are leaving the Austrian part and heading down into the German part. The kids and I as we head back into the Austrian side.

Above: there was a faucet where you could taste the natural salt water of the mine. Berlin must be part rabbit because she thought it was her own personal salt lick. She kept asking for more - even after we'd left the mine. Weirdo :)

Finley and Ryan coming down the slide.

Modeling the fancy mine clothes. It was chilly - hence Berlin's clutched fists.

These are the pictures that the mine photographers and cave cameras take while you are on the tour. Totally overpriced, but I wanted them for memories sake. Ryan wasn't happy about it, but he was a good sport and let me have it. I figure that since I didn't get any shopping in for myself (unlike Ryan who got some nice stuff from H&M), this was my "big" purchase and I love them.

This is us on the train. It went faster than I thought it would and Berlin was a bit scared. It's funny because it looks like we are going down, but we were actually going up at a very steep incline. As you can tell, it was really crowded that morning.

After the mine we explored the Celtic village and play area and ate our picnic lunch. It was kinda like "This is the Place Heritage Park," but smaller. It was a great way to spend a warm, sunny day. The area where the mine is located is so picturesque. Green foliage everywhere, little rivers and lakes, lots of hiking trails, biking trails, and kayaking tours. All of which I want to do when we go back. I loved it all.




Rumor has it that witches lived up in the twin peaks above.


The kids and their "action" photos.

They come by it honestly. 

 Finn dancing like he's Michael Jackson.

Taking a break.


After our picnic lunch we went to the lake town of Hallstatt. Fabulous!!! After making the mandatory potty stop for Berlin, we watched the ducks swim on the lake.

Then we rode the funicular up the mountain, hiked back down then, and walked through the old town and got a yummy Austrian dinner at a cute place right near the lakes edge. I could live here. Yes, indeed I could. Note to self: Austrian sausage is not German sausage. It's just a really long hot dog. Note to reader: My kids love sausage, but hate hot dogs. Dinner didn't go over very well with them. Ryan and I loved our schnitzel though.


The view of the little town of Hallstatt at some point on our hike down.

On the way back to the car Finley and Berlin found this chess board and of course had to play it. Which is funny cause they have no clue how to play and when Ryan tried to help, Finley got upset. Way to go dad!


Then we headed home to the apt for the night. The next morning we went back into Salzburg's historic center for some shopping. Of course, the kids were not happy - especially Finn. I really wanted to get him some new lederhosen, but he was having none of that talk and refused to go into any of the stores. I gave up that cause quickly. Berlin had the opposite problem. She really wanted a new dirndl as hers is getting a bit snug. But despite all our efforts we couldn't find one in her size ... at least not one that was under $200. And that wasn't going to work for me. Once again, much to her dismay, we abandoned that cause and tears ensued.

So, we quickly found a great outdoor cafe and let the kids order whatever they wanted. They were so happy! And I was glad of the break in tears & whining.  Their lunch treat was HUGE (3 large scoops of ice-cream, about a cup of fresh whip cream, chocolate syrup, and cookies & chocolate on top!). But they ate it all. I love these kiddos ... most of the time :) ! 

Their blood sugar levels must have been low, hence the tears and emotions,  because after their lunch treat, the rest of the day was fabulous. They played at the palace playground 'til their hearts content. Berlin was SO scared of this tall slide. One had to climb 8 levels to get to the top. She was determined to climb the whole way, but when she got to the top she froze and wouldn't slide down. Ryan & I knew this would happen. But, she finally slid down after a lot of encouragement. Finn loved it and slid down a gazillion times. 

We still had a good part of the day left so we left downtown and went to this hiking trail outside town that was fairly close to the salt mines. Part of the trail basically scaled the edge of the rock mountain and took you to these holes & crevices where the water had eroded the mountain. The water was also the prettiest shade of turquoise. Amazing! Another nice thing is that we had the trail all to ourselves.


Berlin was an excellent little hiker that day. She was so happy and never once complained. She loved this hike and just sang to herself (well, all of us) the whole way. 



There were these funnels that you could speak into and listen to your voice echo off the canyon walls. What kid doesn't like listening to themselves ... in surround sound? Ours do for sure!

After the hike it was back to the apartment for dinner, homework, bedtime, and laundry. The next day we packed up and began the drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Stay tuned for that post.