We arrived in Hallstatt from Salzburg just on midday and after checking into our very cute and authentic 2 bedroom accommodation located above a shopfront, we headed for the tourist information centre to see if we could still fit in an ice caves experience. Still benefiting from above average warm temperatures and no rain, we wanted to maximise our viewing experience from on high as the ice caves ticket also includes the cable car to a station at around 2100m with viewing platforms called the 5 fingers that protrude out over the cliff face!
To ensure we could fit all our activities in, we needed to catch a cab from the township of Hallstatt to the start of the cable car as the next bus was still over half an hour away. What we did have on our side was that the cable car continues until 6pm on Sundays only, so we were in luck. Whilst enjoying the ice caves and the spectacular clear views over the Austrian Alps we needed to catch the last bus at 6:03pm. After a nervous wait as we watched all the cable car operators close up and leave, the bus finally arrived.
Back in Hallstatt we found a nice water front cafe/restaurant to complete a fantastic day...
Well our great weather finally gave in as thunderstorms rolled in around 11pm and continued to rain well into the day. Our warm temperatures of 20+ also plummeted and we were lucky to reach double digits. Snow fell across the Alps at higher altitudes, but the dustings were visible from Hallstatt. So we enjoyed our first real sleep in since leaving home over 4 weeks ago! Also caught up on the blog and finally in the wet and cold, headed for the most logical tourist attaction on a day like today... the Salt Mines.
Whilst not a huge amount of information was exchanged, the tour was interesting and entertaining. The most interesting fact is that these mines have been operating for 7000 years! And continue to operate, although the process of mining salt has changed significantly. As well as continuing to mine the salt, the mines are significant from an archeological perspective as artefacts found are relatively well preserved!
Unfortunately the weather never looked like improving so after the salt mines we went exploring in the cold before finding a great little Pizza / bar for dinner tucked out of the way and a popular local hangout before calling it a day!