Of course it’s a given that you cannot visit Austria without visiting Salzburg – it’s almost sacrilegious. Funnily enough, though, my favorite part of Salzburg was not the beauty, or the “Sound of Music” saturated environment, or the musical history (so… much… Mozart!). My favorite part was a small town, just a little past Salzburg, called Hallein. The small town had an irresistible charm, and the salt mine located there was fantastic (at least, it was as long as you didn’t take it too seriously). The tour was part of our ÖBB-Combi-Pack, and just the views on the way up truly made it worth it.
Our first interaction with our tour group in the mine was a group of Chinese women who wanted to take pictures with us. Considering the fabulous outfits we put on over our clothes, we were more than happy to oblige. The main attraction of the salt mine were the two huge slides that we could slide down 2-3 people at a time, to reach the lower levels of the mine. The little cart we rode in on, and the boat to cross the underground lake, also added a sense of fun to the whole experience.
That tour was also one of the first times where I realized I was starting to understand German – by the end, when the English part of the group had fallen behind, he asked us if we needed the translation from German, and I was comfortable saying no. Of course, he spoke slowly and clearly, but it was still a moment of great pride and confidence for me. It is truly amazing how far my German has come in just those few short months!
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<p>Fionna studies Anthropology and Molecular Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Though she is originally from the Netherlands, she has spent the last ten or so years in California. Her free time is spent reading, horseback riding, nerding out about television shows, hiking, and dreaming of future travels and adventures. She is looking forward to spending her spring semester enjoying the life and culture in Vienna, Austria and the surrounding countries. </p>