Despite the fact that rain was predicted for this morning (7/18/13), it was a beautiful day when we got up. We debated taking the drive through Zell am See, but decided to stick with our original plan of trying to find a second hand store. There are some amazing Austrian clothes that traditionally cost around 100 Euros, so we wanted to see if we could find them cheaper.

Austrian Second Hand Store

Austrian Second Hand Store

We were in a bit of an unfamiliar driving territory, and at one intersection, traffic was coming from 4 directions. I saw an opening and took it, maneuvering around crossing pedestrians to do so. The next thing I knew: Polizei. Yep, that’s right: Police. Mom’s biggest nightmare (that and pickpockets…) So, I pulled over. The nice policeman approached and immediately started speaking in German. When I said, “I’m sorry,” he asked if I spoke German (in German), and I said, “No, English.” He switched and asked if I had noticed the pedestrians in the street. I allowed that I had, but had also noticed the cars coming swiftly towards me while I was in the intersection. He took my international driver’s license, which by good fortune I had put in the car that morning, my regular license, and my vehicle registration. Finally, after I’d taught him the English word “Crosswalk,” he explained that if there are people there, you need to let them go. (Incidentally, giving pedestrians the right of way is the only question I missed on my Indiana driver’s license test–In Ohio, they don’t have the right of way.) Thankfully, he let us go with a warning to watch out for people. Lesson noted…(I didn’t ask for his picture, though the thought did cross my mind…)

A block later, we arrived at the second hand store. This one was a small place, but had good Austrian clothes and shoes–unfortunately, none in my size or that mom would wear. The lady did direct us to another second hand store, and we headed there. This one was a lot larger. It had the kinds of things you usually find at thrift stores in the states: books, knickknacks, clothes, shoes, paintings, etc. We found a few interesting things, but nothing we had to have. Definitely a fun experience, though!

Celtic Charioteer (holding his enemy's head)

Celtic Charioteer (holding his enemy’s head)

From there, we headed back to Hallein to the Celtic Museum (Keltenmuseum Hallein). We had wanted to see the Silent Night Museum, but first were told it was only open at Christmas time, and then were informed that it’s open the second Friday of every month. So, if you happen to time your visit right, you can see where Silent Night was written. Parking in Lot 1 was free (after we actually managed to locate Lot 1–there are signs, but they’re hard to find.) Entrance to the museum was free, as well, because we had been on the Salt Mine tour. Traditionally, adults cost 6 Euros, but if you want a guide in English, you have to pay an additional 1.50 Euros. Since there is nothing in the museum in English, you really need the guide, though it covers mainly the story of salt production and leaves out a number of other artifacts.

Grave of Celtic Nobles

Grave of Celtic Nobles

There were a few things I found especially interesting. The first was a gravesite displaying a noble husband and wife. They were buried, as was tradition, with a great deal of jewelry and weapons. In fact, there were a number of graves that started being excavated in the 1930’s. Many artifacts are on display that were found in these tombs. As the tombs were found around one of the salt mines, they also display another skeleton of a man preserved in salt.

Hitler at a ground breaking ceremony

Hitler at a ground breaking ceremony

Another interesting area contained three rooms where 74 oil paintings are displayed. These paintings, which were commissioned by the prince-bishop, are of the salt miners and salt mining process and are painted directly on the walls of the room. These are beautifully done. The room also contains cases of hand painted playing cards of some kind, but there was no information on them in our guide book.

The final thing I found most interesting were cards of people in one of the display cases–two of them portraying Hitler. One of them merely shows a picture of Hitler with the Caption of “The work he provided” (Rough translation off Google Translate. The second is a ground breaking ceremony, which from translation seems to be some kind of factory or rail station. It struck me as an oddity to find a picture of Hitler at a groundbreaking ceremony in the midst of Celtic History.

The Celtic Museum

The Celtic Museum

There were many more interesting items: Log books from ships dating back to the 1500’s, The seals of Salzburg rulers, and signs of tradesmen to name a few. But, it is time for us to leave Austria, so we said goodbye to the Celtic Museum and headed back for an early dinner and to pack to go to Italy tomorrow.

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