Fiona spent the last week and a half of June in Austria, first in the Stubai Valley, then in the city of Salzburg.
Salzburg is a city founded (literally!) on salt—it sits atop an ancient sea, which evaporated and left huge amounts of salt, a substance that was very valuable when they started mining it thousands of years ago. Today, the old mines are open for tours, and Fiona got to take one! We put on baggy pants and long-sleeved shirts over our clothes to protect them, then rode a miniature train into the mine. We got to slide down the old wooden slides the miners used to use to go deep below the ground, plus ride a boat across an underground lake.
Fiona also saw statues of mythical creatures all over Salzburg, especially at Hellbrunn Palace and in Mirabell Gardens.
Stubai is in a part of Austria called Tyrol, which is surrounded by big, beautiful mountains called the Alps. Fiona did a lot of cool stuff there, including going on some big hikes (one 1000 feet up!) and playing in playgrounds with seriously incredible views.
But her favorite thing in Stubai was the alpine slide, AKA the summer toboggan, which is kind of like a ride you can take all the way down a big mountain. Here’s an interview with Fiona about her experience taking it (twice!):
Tell us what you did today!
Today we rode on something called the “summer toboggan.” It was really fun. So, a toboggan is kind of like a rollercoaster. Alright, so, the summer toboggan is like, it had a little trail, and we rode on a thing that was yellow and had wheels and Mommy sat on it first and I was basically sitting on her lap but there was an extra seatbelt on Mommy’s seatbelt so I could be strapped to her, and when we went down we screamed almost the whole way.
Why did you scream the whole way?
Because it was so wobbly and scary and fast and fun. It’s super fun. I think you guys [should] try it!
Anything else you want to say about it?
Maybe a little bit? Yeah, a little bit more: The summer toboggan was kind of like… well, you started from the top of a mountain and you roll all the way down, so it was pretty long, but whenever you go like this [tips hand one way], the summer toboggan leans that way, and then when you go like that [tips hand the other way], the summer toboggan leans that way, and whenever you go down, you go like, “waaaaahhhhhhhh!”
How did we get up the hill to go down on the summer toboggan?
Using a cable car. A cable car is something that runs electrically in a little tiny square [car] that has little benches and it runs up the hill so the people can ride. And it has these little towers that hold [it] but also gets them up so they can fix the cable cars. And that’s all!”