Archive for December, 2009

Ice Caves in Austria

ice-caveWhile traveling through Salzburg, Austria, we had the opportunity to visit the largest system of ice caves in the world. Eisriesenwelt made a great day trip and gave us a chance to do something that was not typical or on the itinerary for our group.

It was fast and convenient to get to the caves from Salzburg. We took a cable railway and got there in about half an hour. The cable was incredibly full of people but we were pretty used to crowded transport by this point in our trip. When we got to Eisrieswelt, we didn’t have to wait long for a tour guide to be available because a tour starts roughly every six minutes.

When we reached the entrance to the caves, we were given a lamp. During our guided tour there was additional lighting inside the caves that highlighted the ice sculptures and gave them a cool effect. It was frigid, however, and I’m very glad I had my warmest coat on as the temperatures were below freezing even though it was June.

The tour through the caves was interesting and informative. Our guide was excellent and very knowledgeable. He told us how the ice caves are made completely out of ice and rock. The caves are like a labyrinth and make up an area of over 40 km. And, even though the caves’ formation started over 100 million years ago, they are still developing today.

The only disappointing part of the tour was that we were not allowed to take any pictures. The caves were so beautiful I would’ve wanted to take some pictures. Instead I opted to purchase a postcard of the cave in the gift shop. At least I have something to remember it by.

Touring Around Italy

italyLast summer I took a month long trip to Italy. I used a car hire italy service. We managed to visit Rome, Florence, Capri, and Venice before having to go back home. Florence was my favourite stop. Even though every city had its own fabulous attractions, Florence was just so beautiful and had so many architectural and historical landmarks to see.

While in Florence, our incredibly long, and sight-seeing filled, days took place during the incredible heat of a warmer than usual July. On one such day we had planned to see the magnificent Gothic Duomo. Before we could think any better of it, we decided that the only way to properly experience the Duomo was to climb up to the top so we could look out on the city.

However, about halfway up the 463 steps it wasn’t looking like such a great idea anymore. The heat alone inside the stuffy stairwell was suffocating; but it was the tiny steep staircase that really put me over the edge. It was so narrow that even if I wanted to turn around and go back down, I couldn’t. There were so many people below me waiting for me to keep climbing that I started to feel claustrophobic inside the stairwell. I never realized how terrifying climbing up stairs could be.

When we did finally reach the top, though, the view was fabulous. It was almost worth the agony of getting there. You get the opportunity to see Florence from a bird’s eye view and you can see the whole city in a way that you wouldn’t get to if you hadn’t climbed to the top of a cathedral. I also remembered to take about a hundred pictures while I was up there because I knew I would never be climbing back up. The only thing that ruined the moment was the realization that I was going to have to climb back down the 463 stairs.

© 2010 Pat Travels the World
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