Spam, spam, spam!

Austrian food, specifically Tirolean is delicious! Tirol is a farming region, and back in the day was not a very wealthy one. So, food that is popular today is so because of a long history of using what was available. Milk, cheese, wheat and meat are frequent features in dishes I eat these days. There’s something really lovely about knowing that what you are eating is local, unprocessed and that it is from a people who were creative and resourceful enough to use every little bit of everything little thing that they produced. Knödels…spaetzle…sauerkraut….and fleischkäse!

When I first met Boots in Spain, he talked constantly about fleischkäse, which I had never heard of before. But, on my first visit to Austria in October I was introduced to it, and now upon moving here it’s something we have at least once a week. What is it you ask? Well, it’s a sort-of ‘meatloaf’ according to Wikipedia – finely ground bits of different kinds of meat that are mixed together and then baked in a loaf-shaped dish. When done, it is sliced and usually served on semmel (a lovely, white bread roll) with mustard and pickles. And you can buy it anywhere – supermarkets, delis, gas stations, you name it.

spam

Well, a few weeks ago, and many fleischkäse semmels eaten, we decided to watch ‘Indien’ one night – a beautiful, funny and heartbreaking Austrian film from 1993. (side note: This movie is So. Very. Worth. Watching) The movie is in German, with English subtitles and in one scene they are talking about fleischkäse. Boots didn’t think that there was an English translation for the word, so I was very surprised when ‘SPAM’ came across the bottom of the screen. Yup, spam. This amazing, delicious, affordable food that I had heard about for months and have been eating for a few months more turns out to be Austria’s answer to spam.

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We asked my mom to send us a tin of proper British spam to compare, but have yet gotten up the nerve to actually do a comparison. Nervous that it’s going to be disgusting, but also nervous that perhaps these two ‘delicacies’ are actually the same in which case, I’ll never be able to look at fleischkäse the same way again!

But regardless, it is delicious – so, if you find yourself in Austria, make your way to the nearest gas station and order away!

And now, I leave you with this:

A belated update of the last two weeks!

Well, it’s been quite some time since I’ve written, but I have two fabulous excuses; Michelle and Cara!

Michelle is a dear friend from Ireland, whom Boots and I met on the Camino and she came to visit us at the beginning of February. Although only a few days, we had a fabulous time sledding, bar hopping, walking a little of the Camino and catching up!

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A week later, one of my oldest and dearest friends Cara came to visit for a week. We also went sledding, bar hopping and spent a day exploring Kufstein, one of the older towns in Tirol.

Sledding here is unlike any sledding I’ve done before. Growing up in Toronto, Riverdale park and Trinity Belwoods were the places to go, where hills were small enough that you could walk up, and small enough that you would sled down in less than a minute. Not here! In Wörgl, there is a small mountain called the Möslam – on a good day it takes about an hour to walk up, longer with a wooden sled on your back and snow under your feet! At the top is a gorgeous little restaurant serving typical Tirolean food, and most excitingly Krautinger – an alcohol made of turnips that is a specialty of one little valley here in Tirol. It’s absolutely terrible, the smell reminiscent of dirty socks, but it’s a Tirolean delicacy, and apparently great for your health! Despite the smell, it’s a must-try for anyone visiting this region!

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After a filling meal, a beer, and a shot of Krautinger, it’s time to sled down – for a full ten minutes! And that’s going pretty fast! The first time I went with Boots and Michelle, we went down in the dark, headlights being the only thing to light our way. Slightly terrifying, but less so as you can’t actually see the sharp drops as you turn each corner. Cara and I went in the afternoon, and I must say – being able to see how steep the drops were was nerve-racking and the cause of a couple of spills for me, when my turns weren’t quick enough! Amazing, amazing fun though!

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Kufstein was another delight, in particular Romerhof Lane, which looks like something straight out of a Disney movie! 

And the fortress, which is centuries old, complete with towers and creepy underground tunnels!

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Exploration aside though, it was wonderful having these two, dear visitors this month and just spending time together!

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In other news, we got a laundry machine – no more washing things by hand in the bathtub, woohoo! Turns out laundry mats are non-existent where we live…After months of washing things by hand, I will never take laundry machines for granted ever again! We also got a vacuum. Yup, excited about vacuums and laundry machines, who am I becoming!

The other addition to our home was quite by accident. We seem to have been adopted by a cat! She showed up just over a week a go, prancing through our door one evening and settling herself on our couch. She now spends about 20 hours a day here and we are both completely in love with her. We keep saying that we don’t actually have a cat, but the purchasing of cat food, and probably a littler box this week say otherwise….oops!

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And lastly, I enrolled in a German class! I start at the beginning of March – woot!