Sunday, July 15

Salzburg, Day Three: Eagles Nest and Ice Caves

Despite the early night we struggled to get out of the house by eleven; the events of the night before was obviously still a burden on us. But the great thing about Salzburg (and many other European towns, I'm sure) is that since the roads are so clear things are really close. For instance, our first stop today was Kehlsteinhaus, or The Eagle's Nest, which was only twenty-five minutes away across the German-Austrian border (which meant that I had entered Germany for the first time too).

The Eagle's Nest was a birthday gift given to Hitler. At 1800 metres high the views were pretty amazing; the drive up was only possible by bus so I managed to get a good look at the surroundings. Unlike with the Alps the weather was brilliant and so we managed to see for miles, including Salzbug, where we were staying, and Hallein, where we had eaten dinner last night.

The Eagle's Nest itself was a further brass elevator ride up, and houses a restaurant where we grabbed some food. After looking around for an hour or so (including climbing another twenty metres higher or so), we headed back down to lower ground. We were doing pretty well for time - it was now only around 2pm; enough time to go back home in order to allow some of us to get into appropriate clothing for our next destination: The Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves. We reached them at around 4pm, after driving 5km up a mountain, hiking twenty minutes more, taking a cable car and then another twenty minute hike taking us up to a height of 1650km or so above sea level.

Apparently these are the largest ice caves in the world. Now the fact that they were caves filled with ice (as opposed to, you know, caves made out of ice like some people thought. Ahem) didn't make them any less stunning; we spent around an hour walking one kilometre through the early stages of the caves (there are around 42km of caves altogether) and witnessed some pretty awesome natural ice sculptures - at one point we even went into some of the cold stuff! Amazing. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but you can check Google to see what it was like.

We finished with the caves at around 6pm. That was pretty much all we could do for the day, not that we weren't fulfilled. But our time in Salzburg had come to an end; ironically we had spent little time in Salzburg itself (just the first evening in fact), but I think we had all thoroughly enjoyed it - personally I loved the freedom and lack of a concrete hard and fast plan. After dropping off the car at the airport we caught our flight back home.

Between Geneva and Salzburg, I've realised how easy and fun these short weekend breaks can be; I've been back by Sunday evening so Bank Holiday Mondays aren't even a prerequisite for a fun filled couple of days away soaking in a new place. I just hope my laziness doesn't stop me going to other places!

Pictures taken on all three days are up on Picasa. Enjoy!