Hitlers hideaway & Start of "salz"
We left a little earlier than usual since we had a lot to do and appointments to keep!
Our first stop was the Berchtesgaden in Germany that home to a place that was given to Hitler for a retreat during his reign. We had to drive up to this parking lot, and then get onto a bus which drove us far up the mountain. It then let us off at the mouth of a cave. We followed the paved walking road inside the cave to the entrance to a very lavish anteroom. Then we were ushered onto a huge elevator, but since it has to go up so far the workers there squish you in with a bunch of people so it was tight! When we exited the elevator we were in Hitler's "eagles nest"/hideaway. It was built for Hitler for his 50th birthday as a place for him to relax. The interesting thing about that is Hitler was actually claustrophobic, so even though the elevator was mirrored (and unusually big for an elevator) to make him feel better, he still rarely went to the "Kehlsteinhaus" (Eagles Nest).
^^^ Hitler and Nazis at his eagles nest
^^^ Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun at Berchtesgaden
^^^ Berchtesgaden on a sunny day
The Eagles Nest is now a fully running restaurant! We didn't eat there but we did make our way to the very top of the mountain that the Eagles Nest rested on. Seen in the photo above. Unfortunately, just like when we went to the top of Jungfrau, it was INSANELY cloudy! As in, we couldn't see ten feet in front of us! It was cool to know that we were on top of the world, so to say, even if we couldn't see all the way down. Plus, I got to see some real life Edelweiss! Like the song!
When we went back inside (it was very cold out!) we saw the marble fireplace that Mussolini gifted to Hitler. Little tangent story, so Hitler when he was rising to power saw Mussolini as a sort of role model (sick right?), and looked up to him. Well since Hitler became super popular and was actually super successful in rousing his country and taking over others, the roles were reversed and Mussolini started becoming a hitler admirer. So to impress Hitler, he gave him the fireplace. When the Allies took over the Eagles Nest soldiers chipped some of the marble off to bring home to their families, which is why in the picture it looks a little dented in some areas.
After everyone had gotten back from the little trail to the tip of the mountain and had seen the infamous fireplace, we took the elevator and bus back down to where our bus was parked.
our next stop was back in Austria, the Berechtesgaden Salt Mine! Since we had about 30 minutes before we had to report for our salt mine experience we stopped at a local grocery store to pick up stuff to eat for lunch. I will miss how cheap everything in Austria is! It was so nice to have an entire meal for only a few euro!
The first thing we were told to do at the Salt Mine was to get into these shnazzy jumpsuits, like we were real salt mine workers! We had to get these lockers to hold all of our stuff since our suits didn't have pockets and they didn't want us the bring our jackets and purses down with us. Of course we had to take pictures, we couldn't not document it!
^^^L to R: Kylie, me, McCall, Catherine, Lauren, Tashia, Madison
When they were ready for us they took us into a room that had a little rideable train, just big enough for our whole group! But first, lets take a picture!
On floor: Sean (hahaha typical) Bottom row L to R: India, Serena, Hannah, Stephie, Sarah, Megan, Madeline, Lacey, Kailey, Jess. Middle Row L to R: Martin (our bus driver!), Dr. D, his wife, his daughter Addie, Joseph, Claire, Cat, Catherine, Kylie, Zoe, Kayla, Tashia, Lauren. Back row L to R: Amy, Taffin, Madison S, Hugh, Susan, McCall, Zach, JJ, Me (!), Madison M.
The salt mine tour was so cool!! We took the train into the mine and then we got to ride slides down levels of the mine!
^^^Bottom to top: Sarah, Tashia, Madison M, and me.... giving a really weird back massage or something.... not really sure whats going on there!
We learned all about the salt extraction process and history, which sounds really boring written down but they presented the information well so it turned out to be very engaging. There was this room that was interactive with touchscreen computers that gave salt facts (which I found fascinating!) so I excitedly reported to my friends everything I learned. Yes I am a nerd.
We even took a little ferry across a lake in the mine where they solubilize the salt to extract it. We got to taste the water... I doubt anyone kept it in their mouth for longer than 3 seconds. It was like ocean water by 100x worse! I appreciate salt and all it does, but I never ever ever want to drink it again!
After the tour we got to see the pictures that they took of us (the last two ones). And so, like what you do at six flags because you're obviously not going to buy the picture of you, we took a picture of the picture they showed us so we could remember. Well one of the worker guys started yelling at us saying "delete! Delete! Delete!" until Madison deleted it off her phone. It was after we walked out of the salt mine place that tashia said "wait doesn't your photos not get really deleted until after a certain time?" So we looked and there the picture was, under recently deleted! Madison restored it and now we have a pleasantly awkward picture of us sliding.
We got back on the bus and drove to Vienna! It was a longish drive there, over 3 hours (which is pretty long for europe, for going to different cities in america it's child's play!). Nevertheless when we finally checked into our hotel we were sick of sitting on our bums. So we grabbed food from the local grocery store to eat for the next few days at breakfast and some dinners, then changed and went down to the gym. We wanted to use their sauna too but it was closed for the night . It felt nice to run and work out for the first time since being in Europe! Plus, Madison, Tashia, Lauren, Catherine, and Kylie were all down there too so it was like a social gathering! After my workout I showered and then chilled with McCall (roommates again, like every hotel!) until we went to bed!
We got to learn a lot of history, which was a good thing since our study abroad was for history, about Austria and Germany. I definitely found the facts about Hitler's hideaway fascinating since I'd heard about it before and read about it in books, so to see what it actually looked like compared to what I pieced together was awesome!