Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Soup Nazi at the Lake

Traunsee in Austria (all lakes are called see)

No one has requested it but I am going to do it anyway. I am adding "The Soup Nazi" to the end of this blog. The pictures are from the Traunsee area in Austria where we stayed four days in October '06. Our hotel was in the little town of Traunkirchen, Austria. We also spent time in Gmunden. This is a little larger town with a medieval center city by the lake. They have a glockenspiel on the old Rathaus that plays on the hour in the esplanade. There is a ski area on the mountain by the town and we rode the gondola up for the view. Many were walking up or down the mountain with their walking sticks. They refer to this as "Sound of Music" country because that is where they filmed the outdoor shots. The lakes are clear and blue, the mountains without foothills. The air was clean and fresh and every morning started with fog lifting from the lake. That is the view we had from our balcony. We also watch the trains along the rim of the lake disappear into the tunnel. The room was comfortable. The hotel had every ammenity except golf and the food was good except for the soup.


Admit it. Most of you watch “Seinfeld” reruns. We shamefully know most of the dialogue of those shows. They run two episodes a day on local channels. Occasionally I feel guilty because my values and theirs are not always the same. Most of the time we just laugh. When we were in Germany we hoped to catch a dubbed version but that didn’t happen. The show we did find and we enjoyed was the old “Cosby Show” with a 1980s Bill Cosby muttering a guttural lesson to his children with the occasional understandable “Theo” or “Rudy”. It was funny.

Midway in our travels we decided to drive to the Austrian lakes district called the Salzkummergut for relaxation. Who could resist a place called Salzkummergut? We arrived in the evening as it was getting dark. The area is crowded in the summer. Since this was mid October we begin to think we had made a mistake when we saw many of the hotels were dark. An appeal to the Lord for inspriration brought us to a nice hotel on the water with a vacancy or “zimmer frei”sign. This was a four star hotel and feeling a little rumpled after a day’s drive I felt like a two star traveler. The lobby was elegant and I tried to hide my white Reebok sneakers from view. My hair was a mess. The off season rates were affordable and we got a nice room with a big balcony and a view of the mountains and lake.

The first thing we did was shower and clean up for dinner. When we checked in, the dining room only had a few people eating. It was now 7:45 and well passed our usual dinner hour. Early bird specials were invented for people like us. We were seated and the waiter took our order. After eating pork and German food for almost two weeks we were delighted to see a menu with a broader selection. I ordered an herbed grilled chicken and Jon requested another poultry dish with a cream of chicken soup for a starter. We were famished. The tall blond waiter whom we named Gunther brought our mineralwasser. He then proceeded to wait on everyone else who came in after us. We did not get a bread basket. We watched with envy as the men at the table across from us got Schnitzel and spaghetti. A lady and her companion got up and came back with a salad. I didn’t see spaghetti on the menu. I did not see a salad bar on the menu. After eating Schnitzel nine different ways for two weeks spaghetti looked great. Every other table had a bread basket. All we had was about 7.00 euros worth of mineralwasser! We were hungry. Was it something we said? Did they see me when we arrived? Didn’t Gunther like us? More and more people who came in after us were served. We felt ignored. Jon wished he would at least bring the soup. Finally, I leaned over and softly said to him, “No soup for you”. The real soup Nazi is alive and well in Austria. This got us both giggling and possibly snorting and did not improve our chances of being served. Then we got it. We had seen a tour bus in the parking lot when we arrived. This was nothing personal between Gunther and us; they were being served the pre-ordered meal at 8:00 pm as arranged. Shortly afterwards our dinners were served. Jon asked, “What about my soup?” The embarrassed waiter reached for our plates saying he would bring the food back to the kitchen and get his soup first. I intervened. I guess I was right. No soup for you.

1 comment:

Mary said...

You've got to love the Alpine (?) lakes. One of my favorite travel memories is a dinner on the deck overlooking a picture perfect lake somewhere in southeastern Bavaria. Not really a town, but a couple of hotels, an easel positioned at the side of the lake (really!) and the mountains reflecting in the water. I think this is it. Okay, now I have to take the husband there....Can I spend a month of every year travelling??