North German Charm in Local Tourism
Here to stay
”Dat Salzburger Saalachtal is heel wat besünners.“ That's Michael Bader's declaration of love in Low German. Or translated: ”The Salzburger Saalachtal is simply great!”
The place where he comes from is so flat that “in the morning you can already see who is coming for coffee in the afternoon”, says Michael Bader, from the Cloppenburg region in Lower Saxony, in his dry, amiable way. Sedelsberg, his home village with 2000 inhabitants, is one of four villages in the community of Saterland. Here there are fields, farmland and moors and the North Sea coast isn't far away. They eat green cabbage with smoked beef and pork sausages or cheek of pork and play Indians outside, even when it is cold, damp and windy. “And it was nice”, says the 47-year old, reviewing his childhood. As a boy he played the piano and the accordion in an orchestra. His parents Therese and Walter Bader ran a country inn. But his mother especially longed to travel to faraway places. Michael's brother Stefan was to help with that.
He landed in the Salzburger Saalachtal in 1983 on holiday and found out that the Martinerhof in St. Martin was for sale. The Baders bought it in 1985. The 13 year old Michael went to the grammar school 25 kilometeres and away and after that completed an apprenticeship as a chef in Salzburg. He then cooked for the family business which he took over in 2005 after the unexpected and early death of his father. He runs the hotel together with his wife Bettina, a children's nurse from German Lower Franconia. The hotel was increased in size from 35 to 70 beds. Otherwise, the house remains as it was – a hub of conviviality. Only “sitting around the regulars' table” has almost disappeared completely in our fast-moving times says the restaurateur, in his flawless dialect. The satisfaction of his guests is very important to him. This is a “mixture of many ingredients”, explains the hotelier, who has been chairman of the TVB Salzburger Saalachtal for a few years. “Peace, safety, cleanliness, slowing down”, are most important to his regular guests says the father of two sons and he emphasizes, “It is good, that in this part of the world we still have such a great quality of life”. Because he himself comes from a small village in the lowlands of Northern Germany, he knows that “Everyone has to pull together if they want to get something done.” And he pays the inhabitants of the Saalachtal a compliment when he says ”It's lovely that our family has been so well received here.”