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Our “Milinski” moment and the menu from Hell!

Tuesday morning got off to a somewhat bad start. We went down to the restaurant for breakfast, put on our masks and disinfected our hands, then got our usual fruits, cold cuts, and breads. I can’t complain about the breakfast at Klein Fein Hotel Anderlahn. There’s plenty to choose from, although I missed the Zumo machine at Hotel Kristall. As I was enjoying a pretzel roll, Bill took a look at the evening’s menu. He looked a bit concerned and said, “I don’t think you’re going to like this.”

He handed me the menu, and sure enough, the side vegetable of the day was mushrooms. Anyone who has read my blogs for any length of time probably already knows how much I hate mushrooms. I hate them to the point of having a phobia. I’m serious. I know it’s an irrational fear– which is what makes it a phobia– but I have a lifetime aversion to mushrooms and I can’t eat them at all. I wrote about the “menu from Hell” on my main blog, so anyone who is interested can read that piece.

Fortunately, the hotel does offer alternatives for those who don’t like what’s being offered. One can have an entrecote (rib eye steak) or a schnitzel (breaded pork cutlet) with fries. That’s what I ended up ordering for Tuesday night’s dinner. We also signed up for a Schnapps tasting, which was offered by a lady who runs a winery within walking distance of the hotel.

After breakfast, we got in the trusty Volvo and headed west and I started taking pictures of all the apple and pear orchards. We had no agenda. We just wanted to see what we could find. After about forty–five minutes of beautiful scenery, we came across a curious looking roadside attraction. It’s run by an artist named Lorenz Kuntner, who asks for a one euro “free will” donation to look at his massive “open air” museum. Mr. Kuntner strongly identifies with Native Americans and he has many works of art on his property, which also happens to be next to a swiftly running brook.

It wasn’t long until Bill and I encountered the very friendly man himself. Kuntner speaks German, Italian, and perfect English. He left his day job– not sure what it was– and opened this museum, where people are welcome to stop and look at his many works of creativity. He has everything from sculptures to paintings on the side of the mountain, and all he asks for is one euro per person. But many people tried to skip out on paying. He has no qualms about confronting them, either. He talked to Bill for about 45 minutes or so, while I patiently waited for the opportunity to pee. The chance to whiz wasn’t immediately forthcoming, but I did get a lot of pictures of the artist’s unusual creations.

The artist reminded Bill and me a little bit of another artist we met in Poland back in 2008 named Dariusz Milinski. Actually, I don’t think Mr. Milinski’s art is that much like Mr. Kuntner’s, but they were similarly eccentric in terms of their personalities. Kuntner was speaking to us in rapid fire German and English as he spoke about how small Hitler’s penis was and how Donald Trump is ruining the world (can’t disagree with that). He also showed us a photo of Geronimo. Mr. Kuntner very much identifies with the spirit of Native Americans and he spoke to us at length about it, in English and German. Below is a video Lorenz Kuntner posted. It’s in German. Again, in this part of Italy, most people speak German before they speak Italian!

Bill was pretty fascinated by the shaman, Lorenz Kuntner. He loves talking to artists. I like them too, except for when I need to use the bathroom. So after we visited the artist, we headed back east, and made our way to Merano. There’s a big spa there. I kept thinking maybe we’d go there, but we never made it. Merano is a charming little city, with drinking fountains all around that offer fresh drinking water. The only other place I’d ever seen like that was Yerevan, Armenia. Water fountains are all over Yerevan, and they are really helpful in the hot sun! Here are some pictures I took on the way to Merano, where we had lunch and enjoyed some local beers.

We had lunch at a place called RÖMERKELLER. I see now that it’s a chain restaurant, which doesn’t surprise me. Still, the food was very good and the service was fine.

We enjoyed several drinks at the Kloster Keller. Or, at least I did. Bill got a kick out of a realization I made. I married Black Beauty and he married Ginger. If you’ve read the book, you might understand what that means… Bill is very well-mannered and kind-hearted and was taught well by his mama. I’m kind of a high-mettled, angry bitch who doesn’t tolerate abuse. Sometimes, anyway… Black Beauty was very helpful when an elderly couple wanted to sit down. There were umbrellas in the way, so Bill was quick to move one of them. Another man, much younger and probably less astute, jumped up to help with the other one. I was proud of Bill and his teaching by example moment.

After awhile, we headed back to the hotel, where I faced the menu from hell… I’m not going to go into detail about it here, since I already wrote about it on my main blog. I did get some pictures of the meal, though, and lots of curious stares from the people sitting around us, who seemed baffled as to why I was having a steak. After dinner, we did the Schnapps tasting, which was where we let people know that we weren’t in Europe illegally.

The Schnapps tasting was done in German, English, and Italian on account of the multinational crowd of six that signed up for it. We surprised the hostess by knowing some words in German that she didn’t know in English, although her English was way better than our German. We enjoyed the spirits, too, and she had a lot of interesting information to share about distilling spirits in Sud Tyrol. She had an Austrian license, which limited her ability to distill spirits. She said that the day she came to do the tasting was one day of sixteen per year she was allowed to make her Schapps. She also sells wine. I wish we’d visited her and picked up some wine to bring home, but she was only open from 5:00pm until 7:00pm and we were otherwise engaged during that time.

Anyway… Tuesday was a good day despite the fungus heavy menu and the gentle chastisement I got from the waitress for not cleaning my plate.

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