Garlic spam? Is that all? Things we miss about Germany
“Is that all?” says Hannah as she sits down to breakfast. She echoes my own sentiments as I take in breakfast. One bread roll each and some garlic spam. I look around for the buffet, then remember we crossed a border yesterday. We are in Austria, not Germany. We are also in the worst hotel in the world, a dirty place full of mouse droppings. It’s not like it’s cheap either. Perhaps Austrian breakfasts are lovely and it’s just this hotel. Or perhaps we need to let go of the delightful breakfasts and so many other treats that Germany had to offer.
After nearly a month in Germany we all came to love it in different ways. Stuart and I were besotted by a country that methodically builds cycle paths along every single road, whether a main road or a back road. For a thousand kilometres we hardly touched traffic; a cyclists dream. For me this was only surpassed by the breakfasts; eaten outdoors or indoors and every one of them a delight and surprise. Freshly soft boiled eggs, five different types of cheese, cake, croissants, plates of ham and salami, breads and rolls of every kind, basil, mozzarella and tomato. Sometimes olives and pickles. Hundreds of varieties of jams and marmalades. Chocolates and sweets for the kids. Hot chocolate and coffee and juice.
Food glorious food
For Cameron it was a different type of food; bratwurst and doner kebab. Trying both for the first time he declared them delicious and then proceeded to order them in every fast food joint. One of his favourite projects was learning German from either the MP3 or the phrasebook and every so often he came out with a new word; often a variation of bratwurst. As we sat around the other night with beers and lemonade he shouted “Prost!” explaining it was the German for cheers.
For Matthew the best of Germany was in the swimming; splashing about as the barges and cruise ships pushed past him on the Rhein, the glacial lake swimming in the Bavarian Alps, or the huge open air swimming pools with slides, with a backdrop of pine trees or the mountains, where even the rain fails to put him off diving in.
Playgrounds, of course
For Hannah? The playgrounds, with their swings, slides and more exotic play equipment shaped into pirate ships or castles, or diggers. She particularly remembers those where she has found treasure, like the new teddy she has named Smelly, perhaps in honour of this Austrian hotel.
Ah yes back to the travesty of breakfast. Matthew and Cameron come tumbling into the hotel restaurant.
“Is that all?” They chorus.
“Garlic spam? Yuk. That’s a really rubbish breakfast.”
“Does Austria have McDonalds?”