The trick of taking a picture of a postcard and then claiming that you’re a really good photographer is a common joke in our tour group, common enough that I can’t believe I nearly fall for it every time. But Salzkammergut is a place that I’d no doubt fall for that trick, because it really is just that beautiful. The lake and the quaint eclectic mix of houses are just screaming to be made into a postcard.
Salzkammergut is a resort area in Austria which the Traun river runs through. It’s name means, “Estate of the Salt Chamber,” a reference to the precious salt mines of the Habsburg Monarchy. The town is definitely a tourist area if the gift shops and hotels didn’t clue you in, but there’s also a nice holiday feeling that doesn’t make it all seem so stuffy. Popular attractions in the are include hiking, water sports, and winter sports, With only a few moments to spare, though, I don’t think we could have gone mountaineering.
We had our lunch break in the area and bought some sausages. I’ve noticed that there’s many things every culture seems to have, like a noodle dish. Being so portable and versatile you’d understand that I think sausages also fall into this category. Especially since we were geographically close to Germany, famous for the bratwurst, it’s no wonder I’ve been eating the best breakfast sausages I’ve had in a while. Cervelat is a sausage made in Switzerland, France, and parts of Germany. In Italian, cervelato means a, “large, short sausage filled with meat and pork brains.” Today most people don’t use brains, but the recipes vary from region to region.
Even though they may vary, the Swiss definitely got enraged when a casing shortage threatened their sausages. Traditionally, Swiss beef intestines are used for the casing, but meat processors started to switch to Brazilian zebu intestines. Frightened by the spread of mad cow disease, European food protection laws dwindles Swiss and German stockpiles of the casings in 2008. Swiss media followed the event closely and people were speaking up about the sausage’s social significance. No matter how ridiculous this might seem I don’t think I have a right to poke fun, especially since I come from a country that decided to bolster patriotism by renaming French Fries to, “Freedom Fries.”
Eating sausages and sitting on a park bench by the lake while occasionally throwing in bits to feed the swans, that was my lunch break. Visiting the tourist sites and reading the informational placards is good and all, but sometimes it’s the weird and the seemingly useless knowledge that sticks with you. That makes you look down at your sausage and realize it was something whole communities stood up for. Every culture has one whether it is a sausage, a noodle dish, or a song. There’s always something seemingly insignificant that once threatened seems to launch a catalyst of cultural fervor. Then again it might just be the amazing view of the lake that’s making me so extrospective.