Leg Six: Free Advertising

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*Note: I am receiving no compensation from the town of Werfenweng for this article.  But if you live there, you’re reading this, and want to compensate me, I’m open to that.

The sixth leg of our trip was in Austria.  Knowing we only had 5 days, we wanted to pick just one city to explore.  We decided on Salzburg and began our search for accommodation.  It turns out that when you’re not that into the classical music and opera scene, you miss out on important memos about things like the very famous and well attended summer music festival held every year in Salzburg.  So, since everything that was in our price range was already booked, we re-visited our Austria dreams.

While we really wanted to see Salzburg, our big priority in the Austrian Alps was hiking and biking and soaking up the mountain views.  Some fresh air for our desert-parched souls.  So, we turned our search to the countryside and ended up booking our perfect retirement apartment in Werfenweng, Austria.

We were obviously most excited to stay in this quaint alpine village because it’s so fun to say over and over again!  Especially when you change those w’s to good German ‘v’s.”  Verfenveng, Verfenveng, Verfenveng.  I already feel like I’m having more fun!

Werfenweng is a popular ski town in the winter and a summer wonderland for hikers and para-gliders.  It is 45 minutes from Salzburg, which made a day trip there quite accessible.  But possibly our favorite thing about staying in Werfenweng was the SAMO program.  You pay only 10 euros for a card when you arrive and then you have unlimited access to all of the town’s electric and recreational vehicles for your stay.  Electric cars, golf carts, electric bikes, mountain bikes, segways, electric quads, etc.  This, all in an effort to spare the environment while still allowing visitors to freely explore and enjoy the surrounding mountains and sites.  We took full advantage of all this awesomeness!

20150805_9224While Rome had some of my favorite sites, Florence had some of my favorite moments, and Ljubljana turned out to be my favorite city, our time in Austria turned out to be my favorite leg of our whole trip.  Every morning I stepped out on our deck to the glorious mountain view I’d been longing for.  Every day we stayed outside from breakfast until after dark.  We breathed and smiled and stayed active and slept deeply.  I mean, there was that one morning where Abby kept throwing up and that one afternoon hike where we purposely abandoned her grouchy, stubborn self in the woods until Josiah felt bad enough to return for her.  But other than that every-day kind of family drama, this was the definition of my perfect vacation experience.

20150804_9760 20150804_0120Our first day of exploring on these little beauties.

20150805_9201Hiking up to the Eisriesenwelt Caves.  There was intermittent vomiting from Abby during this hike, and about one minute before we entered the gondola.  I thought her timing was quite thoughtful to the other 15 or so people about to hop in the gondola with us.20150805_9208

20150805_9216The gondola ride to ease the hike to the caves.

20150805_9215The entrance to the caves.  We couldn’t take pictures inside, so you’ll have to go online to see how cool it is.  Or better yet, add it to your list of places to visit.  The freezing cold air inside immediately cured Abby of her nausea.  Is that the Canadian in her?

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Hohenwerfen Fortress.  Beautiful.20150805_9228Medieval Castle entertainment.20150805_9230

20150806_9528Exploring the beautiful city of Salzburg.

20150806_9465Hohensalzburg Fortress in the background.

20150806_9476We stopped for lunch at Augustiner Brau Salzburg.  This monastery has been brewing it’s own beer since 1621.  We heard it was delicious.  The 4 of us could not polish off that tiny little mug, but it was worth the effort.  And the pretzels were delicious.

20150806_9502My little beauty posing at Mirabell Gardens.

20150806_9486Doing our own little do-re-mi reenactment.

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Mozart’s birthplace and family home.  This was cool, but not as good as…..20150806_9524A whole store of Mozartkugel!!  I’m still nursing a bag of these, three weeks later.  Such restraint, right?

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Dwayne’s first para-gliding experience, taking his 38th birthday to great heights!

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Dressed in our timeless and stylish salt mine exploring outfits at the Hallein Salt Mines.20150808_9724Preparing to use one of the surprisingly fun salt mine slides.  None of my pictures here turned out well, but the tour was very fun!

20150807_9701Josiah in his awesome Austria shirt, shortly after he rescued his abandoned sister and we all carried on with our beautiful alpine hike.

20150807_9716Dwayne and I on our electric bikes.  Our kids had to huff and puff and work hard on those hills, while we pedaled slowly and gave the illusion of being physically challenged.  Sweet ride.

20150807_0085Dwayne and I enjoying a quiet mountainside segway date.  Thanks for the memories, Werfenweng.

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