Saturday, July 30, 2011

Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave Tour

Last Sunday, Jason and I visited the Eisriesenwelt (German for "World of the Ice Giants") with our friends Joe and Christine. It is located about 40 km south of Salzburg in Werfen, Austria. Located in Hochkogel mountain in the Tennengebirge section of the Alps, it is the largest ice cave in the world, extending more than 42 km and visited by approx. 200,000 tourists each year.

First, I would like to point out that it is the end of July and the weather has been in the 70s, which is way too cold for me in the summer. I should be laying out by a lake, not freezing on a mountain (but that is a whole other story). The day that we visited the ice caves, it was in the upper 60s and rainy. Blah!

When we arrived, I was less than thrilled to find out that we had to climb 20 minutes up the mountain to the cable car in the cold rain. Once we got off the cable car, we had another 20 minute climb to the entrance of the caves. Thank goodness that I brought my rain jacket, hat, gloves, and an umbrella because it certainly got cooler the higher we went. (Oh, and I definitely should not have brought my purse because I didn't realize how much hiking we were in for... doh!)
When we finally made it to the entrance of the caves, I was starting to get excited. I had looked over some pictures and they looked amazing. While waiting in line, cold and wet, we were greeted by our tour guide, given instructions, and I was handed a latern with a flame. Soon enough, we began our journey up more than 700 steps over 134 meters through the caves.
*Note: Pictures were not allowed to be taken in the cave. Poor Jason brought his camera all the way up and only had the chance to take several pictures before being yelled at inside. So, the next few pictures are from the Eisriesenwelt website  so you can see what it looks like inside.
The tour lasted about 75 minutes and the guide spoke in German followed by English. It is funny because the German version of the tour lasted much longer than the English portion. He must have been much more descriptive in German. Oh well! Inside the cave it was below freezing, so it was a good thing we came prepared! Overall, the tour was wonderful and the views of the ice in the limestone caves were amazing. We had a great time!

On the way back down the mountain, there was a lovely view of Hohenwerfen Castle. Someday I would love to tour the inside, but for now this will do.

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