Day 3 of the tour: Innsbruck

This morning we left Salzburg to drive to Innsbruck, a beautiful little town in Tyrol, which is surrounded by the Alps. After checking in to our hotel, we walked 10 minutes to the start of the Nordkettenbahn, an incredible cable car that took us straight into the mountains.

There are three stations along the way and we stopped at the second one to have lunch with a breathtaking view over Innsbruck and the alps. We were high enough in the mountains that not far from the restaurant there was still a patch of snow. It did not take long for a snowball fight to ensue. Then, we took the last cable car to the highest station, which lies at 2250m above sea level.

From that station we walked up to the peak, where the students got to experience reaching a Gipfelkreuz, a cross which marks the highest points of the mountains in the Alps. We spent quite a bit of time in this spot, just admiring the view, before we finally got back in the cable car and made our way back to the center of Innsbruck.

After a refreshing shower and quick rest in our hotel, we had dinner at a typically Austrian restaurant and spent a little bit of time exploring the town, before returning to our hotel and going to bed.

Sorry, no pictures at the moment because of poor wifi connection! Hoping to get these sent when we get to Venice.

Day 2 of the tour: Salzburg

Leaving Hallstatt was made a lot easier than expected by the rain that came pouring down through the night and morning. So we happily got on our dry bus and left for Salzburg. After a short 1,5 hour drive, we arrived at our hotel and checked in. Once everyone was settled in, we headed into the main part of the town to visit the house Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in. It now houses a musem about his family, life and work.

Then, we began our ascent to the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which sits on a hill. The sun was out and it was incredibly hot, so by the time we arrived at the top we were all drenched in sweat. Though the tour through the fortress made the walk worth it, everyone was also quite happy to wander through town in smaller groups and take a shower, before our delicious traditionally Austrian dinner to end the day. Tomorrow, we are off the Innsbruck.

Farewell party and first day of the tour!

Friday was our last group day in Vienna, so in the evening we had a farewell party with the students and their host families. At the BBQ in a beautiful garden overlooking the city, everyone had great food and looked back on the last two weeks. Students then spent Saturday with their host families and on Sunday morning it was time to say goodbye.

We got on our bus, which will be our companion for the next week while we travel through Austria and Italy, and traveled to our first destination- Hallstatt. It was great to be out of the city and in this gorgeous little village on a lake in the mountains. Hallstatt is well known for its salt mines, which were our first stop upon arrival. On our tour we learned about salt production and the 7000 year old history of the mines. But I think everyone’s favorite part was the 64m wooden slide, which had been built for miners to reach a lower level of the mines more efficiently and today is used mostly by tourists to race each other as they are sliding.

After our salt mine tour, we spent a little bit of time on the mountain and enjoyed the view over Hallstatt and the lake, before heading back down on a little train. As our hotel is right on the lake, we had an amazing dinner overlooking the water and students got the chance to rent boats and go swimming in their free time. It is not surprising that no one wanted to leave Hallstatt the next morning, but I am sure everyone will love our next stop, Salzburg, just as much.

Thursday July 2nd

This has been the hottest day of the entire trip. Luckily, we spent the morning at Schloss Belvedere, which houses a famous art exhibition. We basked in the amazing air conditioning, while of course also admiring the beautiful paintings.

Then, we headed back to the school where we had lunch, before going to our next destination, the Donauturm. An elevator took us 160m up to an observation deck and rotating cafe with an amazing view of the entire city. After a refreshing ice-cream on top of the tower, we took the elevator back down and braved the heat to return to our houses.


Wednesday July 1st

After one and a half weeks in the city, our program took us out of the city and into nature today. We took a train to Rekawinkel, a small town in Lower Austria. From there, we went on a 1 hour walk through the beautiful Wienerwald (Vienna Woods).


Summer has finally  and truly arrived here in Vienna, which meant it got pretty hot on the walk. However, everyone powered through and was rewarded with a visit to a pretty little village swimming pool at the end of the walk. After seveal hours of fun in the water and playing ping pong, it was time to head back to the train station to return to the city.