So we got to the center, and sort of unpacked and had meetings and introductions and dinner and meetings and unpacked a bit more and mingled and unpacked more and meetings and tired and mingled and things of this nature and then went to bed. Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite that bad but I, along with everyone else, were all exhausted.
The next day, we woke up bright and early and had a few more orientation type meetings and things, and then grouped up for a scavenger hunt around the city of salzburg. It was a worksheet with a few dozen tasks to find and take pictures of all over salzburg but it was written in German, so it was rather difficult from time to time. It was fun and a great way to see the city.
Another early morning the following day, Friday, to begin a tour, led by our lovely school director, René.
Here is the view out the bus window as we started to leave the city:
First was the salt mines. Salzburg and the surrounding area is known for its salt production, both historically and currently. The name itself means Salt-Castle. The salt mines were very fun. We dressed up in white canvas suits to protect our clothes.
This is a picture of Heidi and I, all suited up and ready to start the tour:
Another benefit of the suits was the reinforced butts on the pants, because there were wooden slides that you slid down on. I actually had been on this tour before, when I was 11 or 12 with the boys choir I was traveling with, fond memories coming back, it was kool. Besides the Slides, it was very interesting learning about the salt mining. And a fun side note: we crossed the Austrian-German border while underground.
Next, was up to the Hohenwerfen fortress. A beautiful 15 minute hike up to this beautiful and large fortress/castle. With a view at the top that was unreal. This was one of the first real views of spectacular mountains here. The following 4 pictures are of the hike up and then also the view at the top:
Also, after a brief tour of the fortress by a lovely grumpy old man, we sat in a courtyard for a show. It was a birds of prey show and we got to see several different hawks, a bald eagle, and even a vulture. They all were graceful and magnificent, playing with their master-person-guy and even swooping over our heads so close that I could have lifted my head an inch and grazed it.
Here are two images:
Then, on saturday, another tour to a few historical sights and the town of Hallstatt. This day was much more layer back with a little more free time to wander around and explore.
Hallstatt was only accessible by water and a small foot path until the 50's when a tunnel was blasted through part of the mountain. This is the second time I was to be in the presence of such beautiful views.