Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Sunday we scrapped our hiking plans (drowned rat is not a good look) and visited the Salzwelten, a salt ("white gold") mine in the mountains near Salzburg. The group has the most amazingly humourous experience of climbing into white protection suits, shown in the pictures. We resembled the KKK with our hoods up or Smurfs depending on your school of thought.

After donning these highly fashionable outfits we were proceeded to the railway entrance into the mine. The railway benches encourage one to get very friendly with one's neighbours (in other words squished) as we journey deeper and deeper into the mountain and the mine. The temperature was meant to drop to 10C but seeing as the outside temperature was 6C it warmed up for us ice blocks.

The tour takes one through the history of the mine and the "new" process of leaching salt from the rock using water. One has to remember new is relative, the first mining by hand was started in 500 BC by the Celts. We even got a boat ride on the 'Titanic' over an underground lake (all of 70m long and 2m deep). The tour came complete with cheasy movies on the history of the mine owner and cut-out cartoon characters pointing to sights of interest.

The best part of the tour were the slide sections, one of which was called "Highway to Hell" (42m long). You speed down the slides at a fast pace with your legs up and leaning back. We started racing amongst the YSSP group (the normal tourists attached to our group were highly amused). Ben and I beat the YSSP Coordinators down Highway to Hell :)

This tour does come with a hefty price tag attached, 18 euros for adults or 16 euros for a group of 20 or more.

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