-Worst night of sleep e'er
First of all, sorry for the delay in gettin these next few days posted. Moving around so much means I never really know when we'll get wi-fi. But we're back!
We woke up this morning ready for a new day in this beautiful city of Hallstatt. I am becoming seriously addicted our hotel breakfasts here: rolls with spreadable cheese and sliced tomatoes on top...mmm...Sometimes I dream about them during the day.
After bfast, we hit the salt mine! It was a perfect day for it because for the first time since we've been here, it was hotter than BLAZES outside, so entering a 50 degree cave felt pretty stinkin awesome. We took the funicular (cable car) up to almost the very top of the mountain (literally STRAIGHT UP). We thought about hiking it to save a few euro, but decided against it. Later when we were going up in the funicular, all we could say was, "What in the world were we thinking? This would have killed us dead!" Lucky we dodged THAT exercise bullet.
So I didn't really stop to think, 'Hey its the middle of summer. I should bring some winter clothes on my vacation just in case we enter an ice cave.' Luckily, the tour guides provide for noobs like us by giving us some extra clothing protection against the chill. So dressed like inmates, we stepped inside. The tour was actually really cool! Maybe the coolest part was that there were not one but TWO big slides in the mine that we got to go down. I guess miners would use them to quickly get from level to level. One was, for real, 65 meters long! Now I don't really have a concept of what that means but Rob says it's like 2/3 of a football field. We SLID down 2/3 of a football field. Hecks yeah!
Does it make me sound immature to say the slides were my favorite part? The history of the mine was fascinating as well.... Of course....One pretty cool thing is that they claim it's the oldest salt mine in human history. They actually found a body of a pre-historic miner and because he was surrounded by salt, HIS BODY WAS PRESERVED! Crazy, eh?
Also, outside of the mine, we found these cool mirror statues. Haha.
After our tour, we stayed on top of the mountain to eat lunch at Rudolfstrum's restaurant. It has an AMAZING view of the lake and mountains! Right on the edge, we ate lunch probably 350 feet above where we slept the night before. Almost straight up. It was sweet.
After the tour, we decided to explore the part of Hallstatt we hadn't been to yet on the far edge. Well, thank heavens we did because we found the cutest little water park over there. It was named Kinderspielplatz (which we assume means kid play place...?). It's the only place in the whole town where we actually saw people swimming in the water. There's even a diving board that goes into the lake. We were super bummed we discovered this our last day just hours before we left, so we didn't want to get our swimsuits all wet since we had already checked out. But if you go to Hallstatt and its hot, go find it! This was as far as we got in, but it felt so good!
So we spent our last few hours laying on the grass, reading, walking around, and getting 1 euro ice cream cones for the gazillionth time since we got here. I can't pass those up! 1 euro! For an ice cream cone?! Yes please!
We finally left around 6pm, braced for a long night. We were traveling from Hallstatt to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, but to make it as cheap as possible, we were making 6 train changes with LONG layovers in some of our stations.
At our first stop, we felt the need to stay close to the station (if you know what I mean...) We were there from 7:45pm to 11pm, so originally we thought we'd venture into town. However, we turned right back around and spent the whole three hours in the train station. This place was SKETCH-a-rama. Even the train station was sketch. There was no building so we just waited on the platform outside, and we were the only souls in sight under the fluorescent lamp. All around the station was rubble... Yeah, cool. Robbie feels its necessary to emphasize that the only cool thing about this city was the bathroom in the train station. The urinal had a game inside of a soccer ball and a goal. I guess boys like to aim at things?
So we got on and off of trains until 1:40am when we finally got on our sleeper train til 7:20am. That was our longest stretch and I wish I could say it was restful, but this time we were both struck with the curse of the midget bed. Rough night, to put it simply. But at 10:00am, we FINALLY made it to Switzerland!!!!