This was to prove to be a very special day in many ways. We started early with the goal of doing the ice caves, Berchtesgaden salt mines and the Eagles Nest. I am glad we decided to do the ice caves first. The drive to the caves was exhilarating. We climbed to an enormous height way above Hohenwerfen castle which itself stood on a hill above the town, then after paying for our entry we walked up what must have been a 25 degree slope for 10 minutes then through a tunnel in the mountain for another 5 minutes then climbed again on a steep twisting trail for another 10 minutes to reach the cable car which took us up to 1500m. There we climbed again for another ½ hour on a twisting trail partly sheltered by concrete to protect against rock slides before we got to the mouth of the cave.
There were groups of school children as well as tourists so we had about a ½ hour wait (to catch our breath) before we were given our kerosene miners lamp and entered the cave with a mixed group of German and English speakers and our guide. No photos allowed inside so I have cheated bought a series of post cards photographed them and they appear below. However the thing you need to know is that the cave is cold – below freezing obviously and the trail is for the first ¾ of an hour made up of ladders climbing 700 steps up or the equivalent of 145m up through the caverns. After the climb to get there this can be quite a strain. Then of course you have to come down and walk back to your car. We thought we had earned a hot chocolate which we consumed before taking the cable car down to the last stage of our walk back to the car.
A breath taking experience!