I've been off showering (since my hair was nearly to the dread-lock point) and I realized I have my most clever thoughts when washing my hair (I must get the blood flowing better or something when I scrub my scalp vigourously). For example, I have just solved L's problem about her shampoo-which has a pump so she did not know how she'd get it home. I thought about telling her to pour out all the hotel samples, and pour her shampoo into them, when I suddenly noticed my travel bottle cap fits right onto her shampoo. As it is only a little travel bottle, I might be persuaded to give it up. I should wash my hair more often. Just think what I'd be capable of if this was an every day occurence!
Anyways, while I was onto this thinking kick, I thought I had better include a few more details.
The drive in through the country:
I imagine the drive is similar on the autobahn in France-people drive crazy fast in the fast lane and you don't linger in it at all.
Seeing the countryside brings the Grimm brothers fairy tales to life. Suddenly you see how Hansel and Gretel can wander through the woods, get lost, and fine a cottage in the middle, and how you would go through the woods to Grandmother's house, because there really are these immense, vast woods separating tiny villages or even surrounding little cottages. Hallstatt was every bit as fairy tale-esque and so I have included a photo below. (and yes, it really looks just like this!)
When I said it was the world's oldest salt mine, I meant it was extremely old. Hunters followed animals there (who were attracted by the salt in the water), and started mining before metal tools had been invented (they used animal antlers). They have been mining there ever since (it is high up in the mountain behind the town you see in the picture). Despite the fact that I had never heard of it, this area was a center of importance, there was even a time period in history called Hallstatt! (btw, Salzburg--Salz means salt). The salt mine tour was amazing, perhaps the most memorable moment was Mom sliding down the slide (the longest of its kind in Europe, but I also think it might be the only one of its kind) to get down to the lower levels (got a great picture of that, soon to come), but the eerie whisperings of the salt man (a body was found in the salt mine in the 1700 or 1800 hundreds and they call him the salt man (his body somehow has disappeared from the grave so they think he haunts the mine now), as well as the train ride out (which fogged up Dad's glasses completely) were also quite unforgettable.
All in all, it was an incredible day.
(Now I really should be off to bed. Every time I move the floor creaks terribly and O, who has for once in his entire life gone to bed before me, starts chattering on about all sorts of touristy stuff. I'd best let him, and everyone else sleep.)