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[Werfen, Germany]

The trip from Hallstatt to Werfen was the start to one crazy day!

The train was about 20 minutes late to collect us from Hallstatt. At a small but modern station called Stainach-Irdning we had to change trains, and the train to Werfen was waiting at the platform. Of course we had no idea this was the case, so by the time we got off the train and checked the timetable at the station, our train was just leaving. The next train was in an hour an a half. Lucky there was a shop there, in fact it was a PUB at the Railway Station, also a wonderful view from the station platform. So 90 minutes and 2 cappucinos later, we were railing it to Werfen. No problems.


In Werfen, the main attraction is the huge Ice Cave at the top of the mountain. There's a shuttle bus that goes from the town centre to the railway station and then half way up the mountain. This journey takes about 10 minutes on the bus but would probably take over an hour by foot. Problem is, the schedule at which the bus runs seems to bear absolutely no resemblance to the railway schedule. In our case, the bus was scheduled to pick passengers up at the railway station SIX MINUTES BEFORE the train arrived. I'm not sure who made up this schedule, but they must be insane!

So anyway we decide to head to the town centre to see what's going on, as the next bus isn't for an hour.

We left the railway station, and there is a river immediately in front. There is the road bridge over the river, and there is a new bridge under construction. We decided to take the half built bridge. We then walked into town and the fun continued...

We were tired and annoyed about the train, and we had to walk uphill to the town centre which is little more than one street with a police station and a few shops. Briony was tired, lagging behind and beginning to complain, and it was only 11am. We eventually made it to town and sat down for a break, as nothing seemed to be open. We found the tourist office, but naturally they were closed as it was Saturday. The tourist office had an automatic information machine in their wall, just like at a bank. Problem was this machine was obviously running Windows XP as it had the "blue screen of death" in German and was therefore out of action.


So we headed, angry and annoyed, back to the railway station. We were actually going to get the next train outof there. But as luck would have it, we were just about to cross the river bridge when a bus came around the corner. We flagged him down and asked if he was the Ice cave bus. He said yes, so we gave him some money and he took us up the hill.

Our original plan was to leave our bags at the tourist office, but they were closed. So we still had our heavy backpacks. The bus route ends in a car park, with a walking trail in front. From the bus stop it's a 20-minute walk up a steep hill, until you get to the cable car station. So we walked, with our packs, up the hill, Briony was beginning to struggle and not looking too happy. We got to the cable car and with sad faces, rode up to the next level.


At the top end of the cable car is Dr-Oedl Hause, which is a mountain lodge, and from there it's another 20 minute uphill walk to the Ice Cave entrance. We still had our backpacks on, so we asked the kitchen staff at Dr-Oedl Haus if we could leave the bags. Thankfully they let us put the bags in the corner of the dining room.


So up the hill we went, and we managed to get there just in time for a tour group. They took us towards the cave entrance, and there was such a fierce and cold wind coming out from the cave. As soon as we got inside though the wind was not bad at all, but of course it's an ice cave so it was cold!


Inside the cave they gave a tour that lasted about 45 minutes, and the facilities are really good - they have proper stairs with hand rails to help you ascend and descend all different areas.


I'm happy to say that all the messing around was worthwhile as the cave was excellent!

After the tour, we had some more fun with the bus. I think ours was the last tour of the day, and as I wrote above it's 20 mins walk from the bus stop to the cable car, then 20 mins from the cable car to the ice cave. Plus, of course, waiting time for the cable car. Naturally coming downhill is a bit quicker than these times. But from the time our tour finished, we had 15 minutes to get to the bus stop to catch the last bus for the day, else we had to walk! We had to practically run down the hill, grab our bags, get on the cable car, run down the hill some more, and we got to the bus stop about 5 minutes before the bus.


From there we went back to the railway station and grabbed the train to Berchtesgaden.


Next : Berchtesgaden, Germany
or, back to Euroblog Index




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