Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ham & Cheese, Please

Those spots on the floor are the result of fat dripping from the hunks of pork.

The tour was all in German but I caught a lot. We sampled ham at a farm that has been smoking ham since the 1600s. I am not sure of the of the mechanics but it is a cold smoke. They roast pork, lamb and, sometimes, Canadian bear.

Our host held up a a hunk of pig while he talked that was a bit spooky. While he spoke, he got to taste the smoked meat. It was smoky and good but not as pungent as I like, so I didn't buy any.

At the cheesemaker, we got a movie about the history of the company and the cheese maker. During specific points, the speaker handed out samples of cheese. Our group had about 8 chunks of cheese. We started with a very creamy and mild cheese and ended with an overpowering piece. We got to see the cheese maturing room and hear more about the process. At the end, I bought two huge pieces of cheese.

That was the best part of the day.

I hopped un-air-conditioned train with no windows you could open. I crappy ending to a great visit.

I surprised Asmus with an apricot-mustard from a cool housewares store, stinky cheese and bread.

Summer in the City

Two great tastes that taste great together???

Work has slowed down this summer, so I have focused on the writing and organizing my life. Last week, I got bored of my life and hit the rails. I took off for the good life in Eckernförder.

Never heard of Eckernförde. Of course not. It is a tiny fishing village that morphed into a major tourist city. The big lure is the beach.

Notice that there is almost no one in the water. While the East Coast of the U.S. is baking, Germany is freezing. It was about 70 degrees when I was in Eckernförder, so the water was too cold for swimming.

A cool statue at the water's edge

The 700-year-old city maintains the narrow streets, low buildings and layout. Only 23,000 people call the city home.

I hopped a regional train at 11:45 am and in 35 minutes I was in the heart of the Eckernförde. It was a pretty spontaneous decision, so I didn't know much about the town. After getting off the train, I headed straight to the tourism office. I read a little about a Käse und Schinken Tour [Cheese and Ham Tour] online and that seemed the most interesting thing happening that day. I was worried that I would be the youngest person on the tour, so I didn't want to commit to the excursion unless I knew there was nothing better to do. The tour didn't kick off until 2, so I hit the streets.

In 90 minutes, I saw all that was to see of the tour, except the squirrel sanctuary. Yes, there is a sanctuary for squirrels. With nothing better to do, I bought a ticket for the tour of farms, country homes and cheesemakers sprinkled throughout the Danish Country [ Dänischer Wohld ].