This posting has been composed by Natalie Brown.

Our first weekend in Salzburg was full of adventures! We visited many of the sights around Salzburg and we were blown away by all the beauty surrounding us. It was the perfect way to get to know the city and the countryside.
We headed out bright and early on Friday morning. Our first stop was the salt mine Dürrnberg. Upon our arrival, we all donned the very fashionable white jump suits that were provided and got ready to enter the mine. We walked through a set of doors to find a long cart on a track which would take us into the mine. (And yes, it did feel just like we were living out a real-life version of Harry Potter where we were riding on the cart taking us deep into Gringotts Wizard’s Bank).


We had a wonderful guided tour of the mine which included a boat ride over an underground lake, complete with music and colored lights. We learned about the history of the mines and got to ride down two sat mine slides; a highlight of our tour. After our tour of the salt mine we toured the little Celtic Village which was quaint and idyllic. We had a great time, despite the light rain.


We then trekked up a hill to a beautiful viewpoint of the city. It was a cloudy drizzly day, but nothing could lessen the beauty of the view. It was absolutely magical and we were able to take a moment to really appreciate that fact that we were really here.  We were in Salzburg and we were lucky enough to be able to spend the next year in this beautiful city.


Our next stop was the Hohenwerfen castle. We went on a tour of the castle which included the armory and dungeon as well as a breath-taking view from the top of the bell tower.


On Saturday morning we were up early again, this time headed for St. Wolfgang. We walked around the town, taking pictures and enjoying the sites. The lake was beautiful and the weather was perfect.


After visiting St. Wolfgang, it was off to the Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl. We went on a tour of the villa where we saw Franz Josef’s extensive collection of hunting trophies, as well at the very desk where he sat when he signed the declaration against Serbia which began World War I. The grounds around Kaiservilla were beautiful and we were given time to explore those as well.


Our last stop was a trip to Hallstatt, a beautiful town located right on a lake. We got to see the cemetery with the bone house where painted bones are kept as well as having free rein to wander about the town as we pleased.


After two days packed with activities, we were exhausted and happy to be back in the Center. The weekend was definitely one to remember. It was a great introduction to the city and its surrounding countryside where we were about to make our new home.