Mushrooms in the Market, Pilgrims in the Pub

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On our way out of Kempten this morning we noticed a local market in the square, so we took a turn to see what was on offer. For me the most exciting discovery was the heaps of local fall mushrooms, Pfifferlinge (chanterelles) and Steinpilze (porcini). They’ve been advertised on menus and restaurant signs but I’d never actually found them for sale before. Our cooking options are limited to a little butane stove and some nonstick cookware, but mushrooms don’t take much work. The guy at the market booth even cut me a good deal on the price.

From there we passed through the long suburbs on our way out of town and ever closer to the looming Alps. We went a fair bit up (not quite as far down) today, though it was mostly gradual. Villages are sometimes as tiny as one or two houses, or one big farm. The corn and other crops have vanished; only cows with their tinkling bells grow here. We circumambulated a sub-sub-alpine lake, enjoying the mild sunshine.

Around 1:30 we finally came into a town large enough to have a Gasthof and looked forward to a hearty lunch—only to find out that Wednesday is Ruhetag, the restaurant’s day off. This is one of those culture shock things that is probably most grievous to Americans, who can’t help but expect everything to be open always except, perhaps, on Sunday mornings. Our mushrooms needed a thorough washing so that wasn’t an option, so we made do on bread and cheese and more chocolate than was ultimately appetizing, which over 27 km and up 400 m was far from ideal. The weather also turned cold and terribly windy. We were extremely relieved to find an open restaurant on our arrival in Missen this evening and enjoyed a lot of meat and vegetables to counterbalance all that bread and cheese. (Mushrooms will be on the menu tomorrow.)

One charming thing about your little neighborhood Gasthof in Germany is that everybody who comes through the door greets the diners already there with a “Grüss Gott!” and everybody who leaves issues a general “Tschüss!” on the way out. The people next to us inquired whether we were hikers and we told them about our pilgrimage, and pretty soon the whole Gasthof was listening in, so we had a nice general conversation going about it—amazed once again both by the fact that all Germans know who Martin Luther is, and that none of them seem alarmed by the fact that we’re doing something religious. It was indeed a cheery Tschüss to and by all when we left.

2 thoughts on “Mushrooms in the Market, Pilgrims in the Pub

  1. Enjoy those mushrooms tomorrow! Steinpilz is the equivalent, I believe, of the King Bolete in the USA, of which I found three perfect specimens thus far this season. Love, DAD

  2. It’s great to hear another tale of Gastfreundlichkeit! and to see another picture of the Alps — really stunning! “Ich hebe meine Augen auf zu den Bergen — woher kommt mir Hilfe?” Luther’s translation of Ps 121, a Song of Ascents. God bless you as you make your ascents in the next days. Steve Godsall-Myers

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