Monday, June 18, 2018
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Salzburg Salt Mines and the Lutheran Church Concert

Day 8 – Salzburg Salt Mines and the Lutheran Church Concert

Today, was our last full day in Salzburg and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience however limited. From wherever you stood it was hard to miss the beautiful view of the Alps’ mountain range, and the magnificent Baroque architecture was like something from out of a fairytale. And as the perfect complement to the scenery, the Austrian people were very gracious, warm and receptive during our stay.

Even the Austrian water was spectacular. Typically, when traveling abroad, there are warnings or cautions about drinking the local water due to concerns regarding the purification process and the fear of getting sick. However, the water in Austria is among the best in the world, typically regarded as being very pure and safe to drink. During the tour, we happily drank from public fountains, from lakes, and even from hotel bathroom sinks and no one got sick. And the water tasted good!

Since Salzburg is named after the mineral salt, we decided to travel 45-minutes from our hotel to explore a salt mine on the Austro-German border. While the idea of touring a salt mine might not sound very appealing on the service, it was an experience that none of us would soon forget. To start, we travelled nearly a half mile into a mountain to view the mine up close and learn all about the history of salt, including why so much of it exists outside of the oceans on land. When salt was discovered on the mountain, this meant an evergreen trading investment for the region.

To start the tour, everyone had to wear protective clothing to avoid getting salt residue on our clothing. And since we were traveling through the cold caves located within the mountain, everyone had to dress in warm clothes. Similar to an amusement park ride, we all took a train to the center of the mine before disembarking and traveling the rest of the way on foot. At one point, in order to get to another level in the mine, the group had to take the option of going down a huge slide or walking down many steps. Of course, we all opted for the former.

Once we reached the middle of the mine, everyone was ushered onto a ferry to cross a salt lake in the mine. Again, this was like a Disney park attraction. While on the ferry, at a certain point of the trip, we crossed the border from Germany and back into Austria. Afterwards, we learned that originally the mine was totally in Austrian territory, however, due to changes in political divisions over the centuries, some of the mine ended up on the other side of the German border. We will never forget our time in the salt mine.

After the tour, we grabbed a quick lunch nearby before heading back to our hotel to prepare for our evening concert. Tonight’s concert was to take place in a Lutheran church, which was a stark contrast to the cathedral concerts we performed earlier in the tour. Prior to the concert, we had to make the most of a situation and slipped in one more stop by visiting Marable Gardens, the gardens of the Mirabelle Palace. The gardens are famous because this is where the song Do-Re-Mi was sung in “The Sound of Music” movie. The gardens were very picturesque.

The evening concert was a fundraiser to benefit a non-profit organization that supports the children of mentally disabled parents, and the turnout was great! Because we were performing in a smaller sized venue it really amplified our voices, even with the use of microphones. On this night, I announced the concert in German as nod to our guests. I was later informed by a language teacher that happened to be in the audience, that despite the heavy American accent peppering my German, the audience thoroughly appreciated the effort to communicate in their language.

After the concert, the church hosted a reception for the choir as well as for non-profit and their cause. A number of people that attended were representatives of Austrian high society and had watched our performance from the audience. Regardless of their standing in society, many admitted to getting into the spirit of the music and expressing themselves during the performance. The choir’s singing was well received and appreciated. At the end of the evening, we returned to our hotel to prepare to leave in the morning for transport to Germany.

Hotel Guests Working Together to Load Luggage

Boarding Train

Choir Members Going Down Slide

Going Down Slide

On the Lake on the Mine

Departing Mine

Entering Restaurant

Beginning of Lutheran Concert

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