After arriving in Salzburg the night before myself and Neil took the train to Hallstadt which is a village east of Salzburg that almost clings to the cliffs over lake Hallstadt (Hallstättersee). The weather wasn't so good but I think that added to the visit. Lots of low cloud and a little rain. You take the train from Salzburg towards Vienna and get off at Attnang-Puchheim. From their take the train to Hallstadt, the station being on the opposite side of the lake from the village. A boat meets the train and takes you over to the village itself, the boat ride given you great view of the village and mountains.
After a wander around the town it was time head upwards on the funicular railway. This takes you up above the village and here there are hiking paths around the mountains and back down to the lake. Once at the top it started to chuck it down so it was time to march on trying not to break our necks on the wet wooden steps.
There are some fantastic views over the valley and to the villages across the lake and you get to see some fantastic houses nestled in the hills. Eventually we came across the old salt mines entrance which is about half way down. Another 20 minutes or so and we're back in the village at the church and graveyard.
Back in the village it was time for a hot coffee, gugelhupf and wait for the boat/train back to Salzburg. A quick dry out and we're off to the Augustinerbrau for some well deserved refreshment!
Next day we had breakfast in Salzburg (not too early) and a look around as there were a few stalls out. This fella was carving signs etc. in the main square, fantastic detail.
We caught the train after lunch over to Munich which is only 2 hours on the slower regional trains. After checking into the hotel we headed downtown to the Schneiderweisse brauhaus in the Tal (between Marienplatz and Isartor) to meet up with Barry and Rachel Seddon who were on their usual trip around Europe. You'll have to forgive some of these photos as they were taken with my old P910 phone camera which wasn't up to the low light in the pub, or maybe it was my hand after a number of weissbier! I really like this place, its got great character for being in the centre of town, good staff, quality schweinshaxe and lovely weissbier. There's not much else to say and if you can't get into it because its full there's a good Paulaner place over the road and a couple of Augustiners in the vicinity.
After a catch up Barry and Rachel had to head back to their hotel out in Pasing so me and Neil decided to catch the last hour or so in the Fest. We weren't sure if we would get in but in the end there is always the outside at the Kafer tent. OK it was raining slightly but a good laugh and good to get a proper sized beer on the first night. Plenty time for more later.
Not quite sure about the Saturday as I don't seem to have many photos anywhere. I know we were wandering around the town first as that's where we found the big pants. They were in the window of Lowen Frey down near Marienplatz and at least had a bit of room in them!
We headed (as it was raining again) to the Paulaner in Tal that I mentioned about earlier. The food in this place is excellent although sometimes its hard to get a table. Not sure how McDonalds does any business at all with this place next to it but some people have weird tastes in food. After a stock up on pork and helles we headed to the Fest but being Saturday night all of the tents were full and closed up so we again headed for the trusty Kafer tent and sat outside. There was a blues band playing and with that, some lovely ladies in dirndls and beer what more do you need.
Sunday we were checking out and heading back to Salzburg but had arrange to meet up with the Seddons and Debbie Smith who had flown in from Lanzarote. Barry, Rachel and Debs had found a table in the Lowenbrau tent at the fest so we headed there. First stop on the way to the train station (to drop the bags off) was the local Aston Martin garage. Time to dream!
The first couple of pictures are for the helter skelter, nothing much except you have to get up there. There is a moving walkway going pretty fast which you have to jump on and then keep standing to the top. The helpers are there for the kids but there's usually a big queue watching people fall. Very funny.
Finally we made it to the tent and Debs managed to get us in even though the doors were shut. Neil hadn't been feeling too well earlier and was going to head to Salzburg before me but as you can see a beer in the tent perked him up somewhat.
The thing with the Oktoberfest is that you usually meet loads of people and our table merged in with a number of others. I think a lot of this was to do with Debs, her short dirndl and the fact that she was on the table most of the time. She attracted a lot of attention including a guy who bore a remarkable resemblance to Guy Pearce (the actor). Not much of a dancer though but a good laugh.
It was about time to leave as we had a hotel booked over in Salzburg and had to catch the last train. We only planned on staying a couple of hours but it was about 8 hours later now. Some people were fading and it was the time when we started trying to avoid the chins with the photos (heads up). We missed one train by 30 seconds so had a beer and some chicken in the railway station and then headed back to Salzburg around 23:30. We had to phone the landlord and tell him we'd not be there until 1:30 which I he wasn't too worried about. It was a late one but a good one.
After the day before we had a bit of a sleep in but made breakfast and decided to head off to Hallein and the salt mines. We both had late flights on the Monday and so it wasn't a problem. We took the train to the town and thought we knew where the mines were although its not sign posted at all. We had a map and so decided to have a yomp and get rid of some of the excess from the days previous. Its a long way up through the fields that all I can say. The fourth picture you can see the town and how far we'd walked.
So once we got to the mines we donned the coats and after a few Darth Maul photos decided to get in before this massive group of school kids got in. We didn't manage it! We took the train into the mine which went a long way and is quite tight. Once inside there was a small presentation on the walls about what they had found down here and how the mine workers worked (the conditions).
After a while the highlight came, sliding down the chutes. This was the reason for the jump suite we had on. Some of the kids went before us and given there weight they didn't go that fast or that far. It was time for the fat b*stards to go down. I don't think they imagined we come down so fast as we almost to a couple out at the bottom taking photos. Last part of the trip was a barge trip across an underground lake and eventually we came to the underground border of Austria and Germany. Amazing to think we'd come so far.