Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010: Salt Mine - What a Salty Day!

Friday, May 21, 2010 (Karannina): After a scenic 2 hour drive, we arrive at Salzbergwerk which means salt mountain work. Salzbergwerk is a 10/10 tour/museum since it activates all 5 senses and its enjoyable for any age. After putting on miners' clothes we are driven by a small train to the heart of the mine. The English audioguides were very helpful for us to better understand the tour. We take a thrilling ride down a uniquely-made smooth wooden slide to a lower level of the mine. It is surprisingly safe. Lights demonstrate how small the bottom looks of a 120 metre shaft. At the end of the slide we are invited to step onto a boat which is pulled across by a rope in a water-filled salt cavity. As we glide across the cavity, we see a spectacular sound and light show which reflected on the water. A salt cavity is a huge section of the mine that has been mined by machines and filled in with natural spring water to extract the salt. It requires 10 years until it is emptied. The salty water is then boiled until all the water evaporates and the salt remains. Flouride and iodine is then added to the salt and packaged in containers ready for sale. Did you ever wonder how salt in your kitchen becomes table salt? I now better understand this process. At the end of the tour we gave our tour guide a small tip in exchange for a tiny cylindrical container of table salt as a souvenir. On our way back to the castle, we stopped at a bakery and bought delectable cookies. We also stopped at the Pinzgau Milch company and surprisingly came out with not only cheese, but long wursts as well - long enough to become a play sword:). Since the clouds had lifted, this was a great opportunity to see our castle from afar. We pretend to be Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, twirling in the long grass. We drove to our castle. Curiosity drove us to open a trap door. Carefully stepping down stone stairs, and into the dark, we discover a group of half-awake bats hanging and an old prison cell, complete with a thick wooden door and secured with metal locks. Inside the cell we found two metal loops secured in the wall that could have been used to tie a prisoner to the wall. Our activity caused some noise which stirred the bats. They used their echolocation to investigate what creatures were disturbing them. For the evening meal, we taste-tested all four of the different kinds of salts on juicy cucumber slices. For dessert we opened our kinder uberraschungs which we purchased yesterday. After playing ping-pong, we Skyped Grandma and had a great chat.

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