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.

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