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Monday, August 03, 2009

Day 3 to the Austrian countryside

We checked out of the hotel in the morning and left our baggage at the train station. We were headed to the countryside, where we planned to tour the Schellenburg Ice Cave. Together with Lanthy and Rad (As Seen on TV), we hopped on Bus #25, which dropped us at the cable car that would take us to the top of a mountain on which we would have to hike a few hours. But the woman behind the counter told us the trek would be dangerous without the proper footwear. Three of us didn't make the cut, so we quickly scrambled for a Plan B.

Luckily, there are several challenge options from which to choose; and we were soon on our way to the town of Hallein, where we planned to do three challenges that were all located fairly close to each other: summer tobbagoning, salt mines and the Celtic Village.

Yes, we were still bummed out that we couldn't go to the ice cave, but quickly entertained ourselves on the ski slope. The goal was to get the faster time on the tobbagon run than any other team doing the challenge and we had to video the whole thing to prove it.

Lanthy, Sheila and I all had technical difficulties on the way down. I accidently hit the button, which caused the video to stop. Same story for the other two. So, we went again. This time, Lanthy and Rad got stuck behind slow-going kids, and in turn, caused us to slow down, too. So, we had to go a third time. This time, we FLEW. I can't recall one time that I put on the brake.

But it was Sheila that got the fastest time, which she attributed to her aerodynamism. She had crouched down really low.

Exhilarated, we headed down to our next challenge: the Hallein Salt Mine, producing what was once considered white gold. For one of our challenges, we had to recruit four tourists for a fashion show using the stunning white uniforms given to us before the tour. No one else spoke English, except our guide, who enthusiastically helped us with our homework. Before we ascended from the mine, she announced that we were going to do a fashion show and a German family taking a weekend holiday stepped up.

Wolf Dietrich von Ratineau, the lord of the saltmine, once commented, "If it's on fire, let it burn." Our fashion show was infernal. The pieces will be sold under the brand name "House of Brine." Keep on the lookout.

Already on day three, we'd gone to incredible heights and equally incredible lows, but our last challenge remained at ground level. We just had to film a couple facts about the Celtic Village. As we discovered, the village was economically self sufficient thanks to the mine. Plus, they only could work during the winter. Sounds like the good life.

Speaking of the good life, Sheila and I recaptured the lead after day three, despite losing timee after being turned away from the ice cave.

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