Monday, 6 June 2016

Salzburg: Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave & Mirabell Palace || Travel Diary

(Travel Day 29)

Day 1:
When we arrived in Salzburg it was raining. We tried waiting for the weather to clear but it didn't. So instead we had drinks and dinner in the bar. The Goulash tasted like it was out of a can, which was a stark contrast to the delicious meals we were getting in Grünau, but the Schnitzel was alright. The hostel we were staying at screened "The Sound of Music" every night, so we all sat around on cushions, sang along and refreshed our memories. I was interested to learn that most of the locals have not even heard of "The Sound of Music" but being that it is an American produced movie, I guess that would make sense. 

Day 2: Public Holiday (All shops shut) May 29th

On our second day we caught a shuttle to the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave. It was a long twisty road up mountain, so if you are prone to carsickness consider yourself warned.
 It was 5 degrees colder in carpark than in Salzburg and the temperature got cooler as we ascended. Our tour guide was giving us information about the cave the whole way. We walked to the cable car which was at 1080m above sea level.
The hike was not as bad as expected, so don't let the unfit people on trip advisor put you off. The cable car took us up another 500m up, then we walked rest of the way to cave entrance.
The entrance to the cave from the walkway.

Getting closer, but still a while away yet.
Looking back down the cliffs beside the path.
The path to the cave.
Once we reached the entrance to the cave the temperature dropped again. It was much colder at the entrance and every time the door to the caves was opened, a gust of freezing wind would rush out. We were blowing vapour with every breath. The groups were broken into English and German speakers while we waited 30 mins for the next tour.

At the entrance looking out.
On entering the caves we were given a lantern, and the guide used a magnesium stick/flare. Which illuminated the giant ice formations with a green or blue glow. It was absolutely remarkable.
Chris was my guiding light, or at least he was holding it.

There are about 300-400 steps soon after we got into the cave. Some may find it difficult but for us it wasn't too bad. There was three year old on our tour and he didn't have too many issues. A big disappointment was that you are not allowed to take photos, as if someone uses the flash it will ruin everyone's dark vision. The guide was running over ice like we would run on concrete, with no problems slipping at all. Chris, however did slip, luckily he didn't hurt himself. The ice cave itself was like nothing else I had seen before, absolutely stunning!
Sneaky photo of the ice formations inside the cave (the only one not completely blurry)
Descending further into the cave
Up in the clouds.

Then we all walked back down and met our guide at the Cafe. Took photos with the Fortress and returned back to Salzburg.

Later we had dinner at bar again. We were all starting to get sick of TSOM,  as it had been stuck in our heads all day and a lot the tourist attractions revolve around it. So we took a pass on the movie that night.

Day 3
On our last day we hurriedly packed our bags for travel. We then took a quick trip into old town square. Visited Mozart shops. Ate Mozart balls (from the supermarket = much cheaper). We had enough time to explore the Mirabell Palace gardens, before we hurried back to the pick-up point for the bus to head to Munich.

Mirabell Palace gardens

Mirabell Palace gardens

Mirabell Palace gardens
Rose Archway featured in The Sound of Music in Mirabell Palace gardens
Mirabell Palace gardens

Mirabell Palace gardens
Mirabell Palace gardens
Over looking the Salzach river
Mozart merchandise and our tuatara
Mozart balls (we got ours at the local supermarket, rather than the tourist shops)

Hohensalzburg Fortress
The Salzburger Dom
Hohensalzburg Fortress from Kapitelplatz

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Quick Summary

Duration of stay: 2 nights
Was it enough time?: No, we would have needed another day or more to really see the city properly, as the Ice caves took an entire day and rain made things difficult.
Where we stayed: Yoho International Youth Hostel
Time of Year: May
Best memories: Exploring inside the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave
Worst memories: Having the rain dampen our Salzburg experience.
Top tip:Visit the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave if it is open when you are there (closed in winter)
Next time: We would have liked a bit more time to explore Salzburg itself. Next time we would visit Hohensalzburg Fortress and Hellbrunn Palace. 
Salzburg in a few words: Musical, Icecaves, Mozart
Recommended?: Maybe, Salzburg wasn't my favourite Austrian or German city we visited, but if you have time and are nearby then I would suggest checking it out.
Overall experience: 6/10, Ice caves where the best part. We were underwhelmed by the food we had (although we didn't venture far) and our city experience was a bit rushed.
Next destination: Munich, Germany


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