Sunday, May 15, 2011

Please pass the salt

Austria is a beautiful country.  I knew that already.  But my appreciation for its beauty took on even greater proportions when we spent a weekend in Hallstatt, a small village located 3-4 four hours by car from Vienna.  The village is situated along the shores of Hallstatt Lake with homes precariously perched on the mountainside overlooking the lake.  The village is home to the world's oldest salt mine -- Salzbergwerk -- that brought the area wealth, prosperity, and made it a center of salt mining early on in the Iron Age (800 -400 BC).  What the mine doesn't provide in production -- the mine is no longer the predominant producer in the region -- the village makes up for in beauty:  
A Saturday morning in Hallstatt
"May I have this seat?"
Houses perched on the mountainside
The salt mine is ~800 meters above the lake with access either by a funicular train or hiking path.  We hiked.  On the way up we stopped in a trail-side gazebo to take in our progress and look around.  Apparently Lisa's reputation precedes her:

Yes she was!
Not looking too crazy here...
Before you head down into the mine, you have to slip these stylin' duds on over your clothes:

...although these outfits might get us committed under normal circumstances
Just outside the mine entrance is a cafe (Rudolfsturm) with a stunning view of the lake below:
I'm not a religious person, but if this is what god is, then I'm a believer:

According to the owner of the hotel we stayed at, the path around the lake is ~22 kilometers.  We rocked it on Townie bicycles...
"So you're telling us that this is the 'naturist' part of the lake?"
"Yeah, watch out for the nudists."
"Don't worry, I'll ride ahead and let you know if I encounter any."
After nearly an hour of riding, it became clear that 22 km may be a gross underestimation.  No worries though, this was our view for much of the ride -- and the image capturing the Hallstatt we experienced:

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Seriously, how do I retire there? That place looks amazing!