We’ve been home just over a month — more about that later — but this post has been sitting in my drafts box for that whole time as we’ve tried to adjust back to life in the states.
Though we stopped briefly in Munich and London before making it back to Abilene, Salzburg was our last destination. Our plan for Salzburg was to relax, go on a few surprise outings, and celebrate Christmas, and it was an absolutely perfect end to our adventure.
The first days we arrived were unseasonably warm, so we took advantage of the weather to explore the Old Town, wander through Mirabell Gardens, and play outside on a playground with a HUGE slide.
Most Austrians celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, so knowing most things would be closed, we booked a salt mine tour. For centuries, salt (or salz) was the driving force in the Salzburg economy, and we got the chance to visit one of the old mines. After donning “miner clothes,” we rode a train into the mine, crossed the German border several hundred meters below ground, slid down two long (27 and 42 meters) wooden slides, rode a boat across a salt river, and saw some cheesy films. It was great fun!
When we returned to the hotel, they had lit the (real!) candles on their (real!) tree. It was stunning.
We nestled ourselves into bed and settled in for the night. Christmas day was quiet: we opened a few presents after breakfast, read, played games, ate a picnic lunch in the room, and talked to our families. That afternoon we walked into town to seek out the ice rink. The ice was terrible and the skates were terrible, which made skating really hard. JA, Bill and I tired of it after just a few minutes, but Molly loved it! She went round and round and round until we finally made her stop. She thought it was “magical,” and is now insisting I take her to the Galleria to ice skate. We walked back to the hotel that evening enjoying the city decorated for Christmas.
The next day — our last full day in Salzburg and our last non-travel day of our trip — we had booked a sleigh ride in the mountains. The tour took us about an hour southeast of Salzburg to the alpine resort of Ramsau. We had some time to wander around the cute village and enjoy the snow, and then we boarded the sleigh for the ride. The ride was VERY cold, and for much of it they had to use wheels intend of runners, but it was delightful. We enjoyed the jingling of the horses’ bells, the gorgeous alpine scenery around us, and the opportunity to warm us with some hot chocolate at the end!
Salzburg was a great way to end our adventure and a wonderful Christmas memory.
We are so glad to be home with family and friends and pets! It’s been a hard re-entry, but we’re settling into routines and finding our family rhythm. Thanks for reading about our adventures while we were in Europe. I’ll keep blogging here about our family’s (mis)adventures stateside, so feel free to keep reading. 🙂