Friday, June 4, 2010

Hallstatt - Salt Mine and Hiking

We decided to hike up the mountain to the salt mine rather than take the Funicular, as it looked like a nice 1 hour hike. It took us more like 2 hours, but it was enjoyable. Most of it was heavily wooded, but now and then we got a nice view down over the town and lake.

From Halstatt


From Halstatt


The salt mine tour was pretty cool, though Mom and Dad said it was much better when they were here 28 years ago with Mary's sister and brother. First we all had to put on special clothes, I guess to help us slide down the slides better.

From Halstatt


They used an interesting technique of flooding chambers with water to dissolve the salt, then letting the water flow out down the hill to the town where they would boil off the water. The subterranean lake they showed us was pretty cool, but unfortunately he didn't leave the lights on that long for us to admire it. They also had beautifully lit samples of salt for us to look at.

From Halstatt


We also got to ride down the slides the minors used to get to work, and ride on a narrow gage train out of the mountain.

From Halstatt


From Halstatt


We also saw some of the more modern mining apparatus.

From Halstatt


After the mine tour, we hiked further up the mountain for some more wonderful views out over the lake and the town. We also saw a bunch of mine "drifts" which are horizontal mining tunnels into the mountain.

From Halstatt


From Halstatt


We also found the cutest little hobbit house!

From Halstatt


Hiking back down to town, we followed some lovely little torrents of streams. First a bunch that were clearly man-made and looked kind of like water slides, then the main river that has been subjected to some engineering too. We saw and read about a lot of work done to keep these streams from eroding too much of the mountain away. Rock slides and avalanches are a big concern in Hallstatt.

From Halstatt


From Halstatt


The approach back into town was lovely too.

From Halstatt


From Halstatt


Upon returning to town we read some posters about the big political issue in town: while the mine and some of the buildings are currently a UNESCO World Heritage site, but there is a desire to put the entire town on some historic list which is apparently a lot more strict than being on the historic list in the USA: according to the poster, the private home owners will no longer be allowed to make any changes to the interior of their homes without permission, all the way down to the placement of furniture. This didn't seem to be a popular idea with the locals, and many of the houses have big signs outside that say simply, "Nine Danke," ("No thank you").

2 comments:

  1. It's interesting to read someone else's view on the town and mine. :) We were just there around the same time (assuming your blog date matches the time you were in Hallstatt)

    http://dragonspeed.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/june-4-2010-obertraun-to-hallstatt-austria/

    What a lovely little town... I think I have the IDENTICAL picture of the halite crystals.

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  2. Hello! This looks like an amazing adventure! We will be in Hallstatt this summer and we're wondering how you hiked up to the salt mine.

    Where did you start and what is the route called? Would you recommend it for beginners? Is the hike up the same route for the hike back down?

    Thank you!

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