Sommerrodelbahn! Ever heard of it? You ‘gotta try it!
What do you do with your community T-bar during the summer time? Let it sit there all summer waiting for the snow to return?
Nope. You get some sleds with wheels and a break, lay down 4265 feet of steel channels and charge people to ride your “Summer Luge” course.
This was an absolute riot!
Your sled has two wheels at the back and two low friction blocks in the front. You place the lever between your legs and note the instruction at the top of
the stick that says STOP with a big arrow pointing to your body. This is your brake. If you push forward on the stick it will help you go faster. The curves are banked but you have to lean into the curve at high speeds if you hope to stay on the track.
Once you reach the end, you take your sled to the bottom of the T-bar and hook on for a backwards
ride up the track while you enjoy the view of the lake and the mountains below you.
We made 3 runs each before we headed off for Hallstatt, famous for its production of Salt for 3000 years.
It is believed that the salt was discovered by hunters who found animals being attracted to the stream with salty water. Once they began to mine the salt, Hallstatt salt was traded all over Europe, as shown by the objects recovered from archaeological digs from this period.
We rode the funicular train up to the entrance of the
Salt mine where we were given “miners clothes” to ensure we stayed warm enough in the 47 F mine shafts. The tour had us enter at the top of the map and walk over 400 meters into the mountain.
Our multilingual guide did an excellent job of providing us with the history of the mine and a better understanding of how the salt was mined in the past and today. At two points in the tour we took a slide from one level of the mine to a lower level, just like the miners used to do. The slide was made of wood that has been polished very well over the years. This also the reason our miner’s clothes had a double layer on the bottom and the inside of the thighs.
The second slide took our picture and used a radar gun to measure our speed Andrew did the best in our family at 33 km/h. Only one other person in the group went faster, at 34 km/h until our guide, using a silk scarf flew down last at an amazing 39.7 km/h.
This was a blast!
After the tour we wandered through the town of Hallstatt and noticed that waiters obviously deliver such fast service that they need their own sign.
We have to thank Rick Steves for today. If it wasn’t for his Guide book, we would not have gotten out of Salzburg today and we would never have learned how to Sommerrodelbahn or where the salt comes from that game Salzburg it’s name.
And finally, on our way home we stopped for dinner in a small town and Andrew discovered the following sign and learned that “Idiot” doesn’t appear to translate very well.