Slightly Apologetic in Salzburg

3 Sep

I’m from North Dakota, a land populated by Lutherans.  If you don’t know any Lutherans (they aren’t very vocal about it, typically) let me describe them.  They are kind people but they frequently beat themselves up for not being kinder.  If someone gives a Lutheran a compliment on their shirt such as “I like your shirt, that’s a great color on you” they are likely to get an earful.  “This?  Oh, this is old.  And I think it makes me look kind of washed out.  I shouldn’t even be wearing it because it’s too warm out today but it was clean.  It’s not as nice as the shirt you’re wearing.”  After saying something of this sort they will find a way to compliment you a couple of times or leave the room in abject horror.

Typical Salzburger fare - not sure what it is, not sure I care. Let's eat!

Lutherans are also embarassed of their food.  They don’t want it to be too flashy so they typically cover it in some kind of Cream of Something soup.  The Holy Trinity to a Lutheran is Campbell’s Cream of Something, Cool Whip and Miracle Whip.  Let not a potluck be had without them.  I am glad of this.  When Lutherans have a potluck they delight in dishing out whatever is there and knowing that it will taste like what they had at the last gathering.  You know, except for that new fangled ramen salad that just showed up.  What was she thinking?

I joke but I love these people, which is good, because I am one.  I like to tell people that a North Dakotan Girl Scout’s cookie sales pitch is something like “You wouldn’t want to buy cookies, would you?”  Kind of assuming failure and wishing that this moment in the spotlight was over already.  Heck, I bought more than half of the band candy I “sold” and gave it to friends to spare myself this shame.  (Random aside, I just realized my band teacher’s name was Mr. Salzburg.  My life is not unlike a poorly written episode of the new Twilight Zone that no one watched.)

Durrrrr…  maybe I should get to the point about the Austrians here?  Well, I was reading a site today about Salzburg written by real live Austrians.  The Off the Beaten Path section appealed to me and I started to feel at home when I read phrases such as: “If you are in Salzburg as a tourist, you probably won’t be interested in any of the city’s sports facilities” or “Alas, since it is still in Salzburg, it effectively became a nice, but rather tame mix of a theater and bar”. 

I’ll be darned if their lukewarm enthusiasm hasn’t won me over.  I even read that Austrians are really uncomfortable with compliments.  They either are somewhat suspicious or embarassed.  These are my people.  I can’t wait to try their hotdish!

Oh and please read the wonderfully titled post they wrote called “Crappy 10: Things Not to Do in Salzburg“.  My favorite quote “Don’t wear Canada flags on all parts of your body if you are American.  It is ridiculous and doesn’t work.  Don’t worry: we know that not everyone of you guys voted for George W., and since Austria doesn’t have any oil, we can still love you without fear, no matter if you are Texan or Ontarian.”


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