Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I won't be mega cruising anytime soon...

Bill and I will be taking our first cruise in almost three years in March 2016.  The ship we will be on, Hebridean Princess, is tiny.  It's a former car ferry that mostly does itineraries in Scotland.  Only 49 people cruise at a time.  There is no pool or spa.  And there is definitely no Flow Rider or rock climbing wall.  There are also no rugrats, since kids under age 9 are not allowed.

What there is on Hebridean Princess is true all inclusive luxury and excellent service.  The food is excellent.  The excursions are leisurely and interesting and included in the fare.  You get bagpiped onboard.  And you are just very well looked after by a very professional staff.

This morning, I read a review of Royal Caribbean's mega cruise ship Anthem of the Seas.  The author of the review noted that the mega ship was "a little too mega at times".  I think I would agree.  What Candyce H. Stapen describes is a floating shopping mall/amusement park/hotel with a bewildering array of things to do, restaurants to dine at, places to shop, and lots and lots of lines.  No thank you.

I'm sure a lot of people love the huge ships.  That's why Royal Caribbean keeps building them.  Bill and I once cruised on Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas, which is among its smallest ships.  We had a nice time and really enjoyed the itinerary.  The nicest thing about it was that the ship, while large and impressive, wasn't that large.  And we didn't feel like we needed to stay onboard and miss the ports just so we could try the bumper cars and waterslides (not that Bill would have wanted to, anyway).

I think if I were on a huge ship with over 4,000 passengers, I'd feel like I'd need to explore the whole damn thing.  That's not why I cruise.  I cruise because I like to see new places.  A ship of that size would overwhelm me.  Besides that, I'd be constantly fretting about signing chits and the big bill at the end... and how much to tip.  Of course, Royal Caribbean actually shows a video about how to tip on their TV station.

Hebridean Princess does not allow tipping.  It's not once of those lines that includes it but then says you can donate to the crew fund.  They flat out say that tipping is potentially awkward and embarrassing and they don't want you to do it.  I have nothing against tipping as long as I know what I'm supposed to do, though given my 'druthers, I'd rather the cruise line just pay their people appropriately so I don't have to worry about it.

The only thing I don't like about the smaller vessels is that I have a tendency to get seasick.  I did not have a problem on Vision of the Seas because it had stabilizers, but I have been on SeaDream I three times and Hebridean twice (a back to back cruise).  And yes, there was puking... though on Princess, I think it was more because we got bad news from home about one of our dogs and I was very upset.

Fortunately, we have a lot of choices when it comes to cruising and you can find something for everyone with budgets that run the gamut.  I'm hoping that now that Bill has stable employment, we can try another cruise line sometime soon.  But I can promise you, we won't be on one of those miniature floating cities...


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Food extravaganza in Nagold!

As I woke up this morning, I said to Bill, "You know, I think we should go to the market in Nagold this morning."

"Do you think they're still going now?" he asked.

"Yeah.  Why not?"  I responded.

Bill was game, so we went this morning and were rewarded with a large haul of delicious fresh food. Have a look!

The tower at 9:00am...

We were immediately attracted to the first fruit and vegetable stand we encountered.  Bill got us some strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.  He didn't see the blackberries until he'd already paid.  Bill loves blackberries.  I could take 'em or leave 'em.

Pretty flowers.  I amused myself by watching the fountain.  For once, no kids were playing in it.

Plums!  I love how beautiful everything looks.

Bill checks out the beans.  I think he got some of those, along with peppers.

I had to ask what the green stuff is.  I think it's a mix of broccoli and cauliflower.

Who could resist?  Not us.

Another shot of the fountain.

We tore ourselves away from the fruits and vegetables and made our way down the street.  I couldn't help but notice the heavenly scent of salami.  A very well stocked metzgerei was doing a brisk business nearby.  Bill and I determined we needed to pick up some wurst, but only after we checked out the rest of the market.  

I spotted a stand where a young man was selling deer salami and sausages.  Bill loves venison products.  I don't like deer meat, but I like to encourage Bill to treat himself.  I think the young guy was getting a kick out of us, especially when I said "You know you want to." to Bill.  The same guy was also apparently a beekeeper, so we bought some honey as well.  The French honey we bought last year is almost done.

Next stop was the fish market... we picked up a couple of whole trouts and a salmon filet.

Bill went to town at a cheese stand, even as a rather impatient older lady kept pushing in front of him.    The lady doing the selling was laughing as Bill shuffled awkwardly to the left and ordered more cheese.  Wish we'd picked up some butter, too, not that I need to be eating it.

Pretty flowers.

We made our way back to the metzgerei with the heavenly cold cuts.  Bill bought a nice selection of three sliced meats.  Lunch should be good today.

Good stuff!

We finished with a stop at the bakery, where we got some brotchen and a few Berliners-- German jelly doughnuts!  Yum!

My first Berliner.  Believe it or not, I never had one here in Germany before this morning.  I usually talk myself out of them.  It was worth the wait!

God, I love living in Germany.  We need to hit the market more often.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Adventures in tooth pulling... German style.

If you've been reading my main blog, you may have already read about my dental ordeal this week.  Since this is a travel blog and a lot of my readers are people who live near Stuttgart, I thought I'd write a quick post here for those who are curious about dental care in Germany.

The first time Bill and I lived here, I only sought dental care once.  In 2008, I went to the medical clinic at Patch Barracks, which was where the dental clinic was located at the time.  It is now at Panzer Kaserne and since Bill is now a contractor, we have to use dentists on the economy.  In any case, the dentists we saw at Patch were great.  I only needed a cleaning and one small filling, which they were able to take care of easily.  Bill had to have a more complicated procedure, which he said was done by an excellent Army dentist.  Bill has had a lot of work done and knows his dentists.

Seven years later, I've been dealing with more dental issues.  In the past couple of years, I've had new two crowns done and one crown replaced.  When we first got back to Stuttgart, I got pretty nervous about who was going to be my dentist.  Based on recommendations in the local community, I chose Dr. Warren Blair.  So far, I'm really happy with my choice.  Dr. Blair is fluent in German, but his native tongue is English.  He was trained in the United States and Switzerland, but he's been in practice in Germany for a couple of decades.

This week, I went to his office to have one of two baby teeth extracted.  I had been putting off this procedure for months because I dreaded the potential pain and the big hole I knew I'd have after the tooth was removed.  I was very nervous on the day of the extraction, even as I was looking forward to having it behind me.  The tooth had been causing more issues recently and, since I plan to replace it with an implant and they take time, I knew we needed to get going on this process.

Unfortunately, we neglected to arrange for anti-anxiety medication, which Dr. Blair will prescribe if you need it.  He will also arrange for IV sedation for more complicated dental work.  I have never taken any anti-anxiety meds for dental procedures, but I sure felt like I needed some on Tuesday.  I was left waiting alone in a treatment room for about 20 minutes and by the time he got to me, I was about to jump out of my skin.

In retrospect, I probably should have gone back to the waiting room, where Bill was sitting.  The dental assistant kept telling me he was going to come.  At one point, she asked me if I wanted something to read.  I was way too nervous to read.  I tried to focus on the really beautiful photograph of the blue ocean and trees on the wall in front of me.  The photo was almost perfect, except on the far left of the picture, there was a little stray branch that looked out of place.  If the photographer had turned the camera a little more to the right, the picture would have been almost perfect.

Dr. Blair finally came in and was very conversational.  Then he noticed I was about to freak out and was on the verge of tears.  I finally explained to him that I was once traumatized by an Air Force doctor.  Ever since then, I get very nervous around medical people.  I usually do alright with dentists, but the idea of having an extraction was scary, even though I had one when I was 16.  Anxiety was getting the better of me.

So after he put numbing gel on the places where he was going to inject the anesthetic, he said he was going to "loosen the gums" around the tooth.  While he was talking, I relaxed a little and he gave a pull.  The tooth came right out.  He looked at it and saw that there was a vertical crack in one of the roots.  Extraction was the right thing to do.

I'm now missing the tooth, but I am not in any pain and have experienced no swelling.  I don't have the vague toothache, bleeding, and infection that I had before.  I will go back to see Dr. Blair in early October, have a cleaning, and get impressions done for the implant he's going to put in later.  And, for future procedures, there will be Valium...

*ETA- we received a bill in the mail for this procedure just before New Year's Eve.  It cost 120 euros.       

Click here for an update.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Haslacher Hof...

So many times over the past year, I have passed the Sporthalle Gastatte Haslacher Hof.  This is a German restaurant in a sportsplatz, which is a very common thing around here.  I noticed that the parking lot for this restaurant is always pretty full, which usually means the food is good.  I wasn't in the mood for our third Hello Fresh meal this week, so I told Bill we should try this restaurant, which we had been meaning to do for months.

Nice shot of the outside.  Parking is free and plentiful.

We arrived at about 6:00 or so.  A few tables were set, along with what appeared to be a table for a large party.  We got a few curious glances as we came in.  I got the sense the staff at this restaurant is used to regulars and as first timers, we attracted attention.  The food served at the Haslacher Hof is distinctly German and the beer they serve is Hochdorf.     

Given my mycophobic nature, I was a little horrified by the mushroom art.  They were otherwise decorated for Halloween.

I settled on the schweineschnitzel rather quickly.  It came with a side salad and a side dish.  I chose pommes, but there were several sides offered.  Bill went with the gypsy schnitzel.  As we waited for our food, I looked around and was kind of reminded of a fellowship hall at a church.  The dining room was very functional, complete with folding room dividers, views of the surrounding countryside, and music from a local pop radio station.

This salad was interesting.  There were little mounds of vegetables within it.  A mound of potato salad.  A mound of minced carrots.  A mound of radishes and cabbage and green beans.  I didn't care for the dressing, which was a little too yogurty for me.  I'm not a fan of milk and if I'm not careful, the taste of it will turn my stomach.  Bill loves milk, so he liked it.  And if I had wanted to, I could have taken what was left of my salad to go.  That was a favor offered, not requested.  Loved the cucumbers cut like waffle fries.

My schnitzel.  It tasted very good and was a manageable size.  The pommes were also good.  

Bill loved his dish, the Ziguenerschnitzel, which he chose over a turkey schnitzel.

This particular restaurant apparently specializes in cakes.  I didn't see any slices offered on the menu, but you can order them whole.  Though neither Bill nor I needs any calories from cakes, we might just have to do that sometime because the pictures on their Web site look good.  A children's menu is also available.

We left as the party was cranking up.  Looked like people were going to have a good time and I could tell that this restaurant enjoys a regular clientele who visit frequently.  Our bill was 37 euros.  Bill bumped it up to 40 and now we're home, enjoying what is left of our Saturday.  I'm thinking about going to bed early.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A comparison of European beer spa experiences...

Now that Bill and I have experienced three different European beer spas, I think it's time to compare them.  Although we'll probably visit other beer spas while we're living in Germany, the three we've done so far have been sufficiently different that it makes sense to write about them now.

I know a lot of people wonder what possible benefit one could get from soaking in beer or a beer/water mix.  Having now done it three times, I can honestly say that after each soak, I have had soft, shiny hair and smooth skin.  In fact, I have a sore on my back that was slow to heal and I have noticed that it seems to have finally scarred over after this weekend.  Was it really the beer that did it or just a coincidence?  I don't know.  The main reason I like to go to beer spas is because I am a hedonist and I love beer.  And hell, it's just a lot of fun!

The first beer spa we went to was Chodovar in Chodova Plana, Czech Republic.  Our visit was over Presidents Day weekend 2009, which also happened to be Valentine's weekend.  We were very lucky to be able to book the beer baths there.  If I recall correctly, we managed to snag the last available appointment.  At that point, Chodovar had only been in the beer spa business for three years, though the brewery has been making suds for centuries.

Chodovar's beer spa was the cheapest of the three we've attended and that's probably still true today.  However, I noticed some differences between the experience in Chodovar and the experiences we had at the Landhotel Moorhof and the Starkenberg Brewery.  First off, the Chodovar experience is less private, though you're supposed to bathe in the buff.

There are several pewter tubs in a room and sheets are drawn around them for privacy.  That makes it practical for the proprietors, who can offer beer baths to several people at the same time.  However, the mood is markedly different, since you hear people giggling and splashing in their tubs as they drink beer.  It's more of a fun experience than a relaxing spa experience.  Also, after twenty minutes in the tub, the water cools down a bit and you're ready to get out.  Then you go rest in a quiet room, swaddled in a thick blanket as you drink another beer.

After we had beer baths, Bill and I had massages.  I had a "complete" massage, which was about an hour's worth of kneading and rubbing done by a young Czech man who spoke no English and actually watched me undress.  Ultimately, he did a very good job and was professional, but it was a little weird and awkward.  Bill had a partial massage on his back done by a woman who spoke a little German, but no English.  Again, a good massage, but a little awkward.

When Bill and I did this in 2009, we each had our own tub, though they were located side by side.  There is one double tub at Chodovar, but it was booked.  In a way, I think maybe I might prefer having a separate tub.  Younger, hornier folks might beg to differ.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera when we went to the Czech Republic for our spa trip, so I didn't get any photos.  Suffice to say that I'd happily visit Chodovar again, though I think I'd rank it third in my list of beer spa experiences thus far.  I do see that they've expanded since our last visit, adding a pool and wellness area that looks very inviting.  Maybe it's time to book another trip!  For a picture of the beer baths, click here.

Our second beer spa experience was at the Landhotel Moorhof near Franking, Austria.  The Moorhof's beer spa is very different than Chodovar's.  First off, the Moorhof's beer spa doesn't seem to be a focus of the hotel's marketing.  Yes, they advertise it and even offer beer cosmetics for sale, but it doesn't seem to be the main reason people stay there.  I was surprised by that, since the Moorhof is in a rural area that isn't saturated with touristy activities.

The Moorhof beer spa experience is more private and seems more health focused than Chodovar's.  There is one room with three beer baths and one that has just one bath, making it perfect for couples.  At the Moorhof, we wore bathing suits, although if we hadn't wanted to wear them, we probably could have gone without them.  I think I would have preferred not wearing the suit, since the hops mixture used in the spa gets all over it and it's not so easy to rinse out.  I liked that the spa tub was more like a hot tub than a regular bathtub.  The jacuzzi action was noisier, but at Chodovar, you hear cheesy pop music and giggles from other people.  At the Moorhof, you hear the motor of the spa and your sweet one's loving words.  Or maybe you hear dirty jokes, as it was in my case.

After the beer bath, we rested in a straw bed for a half hour.  That was pretty nice, more comfortable than I expected it to be, and I preferred it to the communal experience at Chodovar, where several people were resting in the same room at the same time.

The beer spa was a little more expensive at the Moorhof and I wish we'd had our massages around the time of the beer bath rather than hours earlier.  However, I will comment that the massage therapist was a little less awkward than the one at Chodovar.  She spoke some English and was very competent.  She also seemed a little more conscious of modesty.

Our third beer spa experience was at the Starkenberger brewery in Tarrenz, Austria.  This experience was my favorite because it was pure hedonism.  Basically, it consisted of Bill and me frolicking in a big vat that was once used for fermenting beer and is now a "pool".  There were no massages offered at this experience (at least not professional ones), but we were allowed to soak for up to five hours and drink all the beer we wanted.  In fairness to the other beer spa experiences, I can pretty much say that this was not really a health promoting activity.  However, it was a whole lot of fun!

Of the three beer spa experiences, Starkenberger's was the most expensive.  It was also the most memorable and unique.  And, to be honest, for what you get over five hours in the beer bath, it may have even been the most cost effective, especially if there are four people (the maximum allowed) in your group.  That being said, I do want to comment that the Starkenberger experience may be the most risky.  There is a danger of drowning because you are pretty much left to yourself.  Remember, you're drinking as much beer as you want and hanging out in hot water deep enough to swim in.  The beer is pretty potent and if you're not careful, you could find yourself in real trouble.  Practice the buddy system!

Bill and I were actually talking about this last night... how amazing it is that you can go to a beer bath in Europe and be trusted not to either damage the property or drown yourself.  In the United States, you surely would have been asked to sign a waiver before jumping in the beer pool and/or there would have certainly been an employee there to supervise.  In Europe, it seems like people are expected to be responsible for themselves and not do stupid things.  Frankly, I find it a very refreshing attitude.

I don't know when our next beer spa appointment will be, but I am always on the lookout for new spas to try.  And I see that since our last tour in Germany, there have been quite a few more that have popped up.  I am sure this won't be the last time I write about bathing in beer or any other exotic substance.  For now, Starkenberger wins the prize as my favorite of the beer spas we've been to.
Here's a link to the first post about this trip.

Edited to add: We have now been to four beer spas, having visited the one at Hotel Diana in Seefeld.  Here is a link to my post about that experience (much like the one at the Moorhof).  Starkenberger remains my favorite of all four experiences so far!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ten things I learned on the Beer and Fucking Tour...

If you read this blog, you may know that after a trip, I like to reflect on the things I learned.  This trip in particular was really about drinking beer and seeing places with funny names.  And yet, I did learn a few new things thanks to our trip to Austria.  So here goes.  This is some of the stuff I learned on our Beer and Fucking Tour.

1.  Austria is home to Highline 179, which is currently the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world.  It's listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.  But there are also other suspension bridges located nearby that are almost as long and not as pricey to visit.  We had such a great time in the Tyrol area that Bill and I might have to go back and explore some more... and maybe cross more bridges.  The Holzgau Bridge is free, open to the public 24/7 365 days a year, and looks like it's pretty picturesque.  On the other hand, Highline 179 is worth visiting because it has a great museum and the ruins are beautiful.

2.  If you are a beer lover and like beer spas, Austria is a great place to visit!  In fact, there is another hotel in Austria, close to the Tyrol region, that offers a beer spa.  Hotel Diana in Seefeld is a possibility for those who would rather not visit Franking, though personally I think Franking is well worth seeing.  We had so much fun there that we may have to make a repeat trip!

3.  Austrians use some words that aren't that common in Germany.  For instance, when I was researching places to visit in Austria, I came across the word Jausenkarte (snack menu).  I asked on Facebook what it was and my German friend piped up and explained that Jausen means snacks.  I had never seen that word in Germany, though she said her family uses it sometimes.

4.  There are many places in and around Austria with names that are funny for English speakers.  We visited Fucking and Fuckersberg, but we didn't make it to Kissing, Petting, or Wank Mountain.  Perhaps on a future visit...

5.  Swimming in a big pool full of warm beer water is super fun!

6.  I may have to get a dirndl of my very own, even though I used to wear one every day when I worked at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Though we mostly saw people wearing them while working in restaurants, I did see a couple of people wearing them out and about.  I also saw lots of cool Austrian fashions on the men, like lederhosen and beautifully made jackets and sweaters.  Maybe if I quit drinking so much beer, I can squeeze into some Austrian fashions myself.

7.  We need to take more road trips with my Mini.  We bought it on the way back to the States from Germany back in 2009 and it's just now approaching the 23,000 mile mark on the odometer.  The car needs to be driven and it's a lot of fun driving it in Europe!

8.  People drive like maniacs on the autobahn.  Seriously... yes, I've seen them near drive like maniacs where we live, but there were a few times on our road trip when Bill was doing about 80 mph and got passed as if we were standing still.

9.  Austria has snakes.

10.  I really need to get back to studying German.  And I need to learn how to not crack up when people are using public restrooms.

So pretty!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Beer and Fucking Tour... and finally, swimming in beer at the Starkenberger beer pools!

Sometime during or after Bill's last tour of duty in Germany, I found out about the Starkenberger Beer Pools, basically big stainless steel vats rendered obsolete by the modernization of beer making.  Someone involved with the brewery in Tarrenz, Austria had the bright idea to turn the huge vats into "swimming pools" for paying customers.  Given that I love beer tourism with all my heart and we have a lot more money now than we did last time we lived here, I easily convinced Bill that this was an experience worth paying 250 euros for.  So in August, Bill sent an email to the brewery asking to reserve a pool for last night.

When Bill inquired about reserving the pool, he got a pleasant response letting him know the pools were available.  He wrote back asking them to expect us and figured they had penciled us in, even though he never got a confirmation.  The email advised that we could reserve the pool for after 5:00, which, as it turns out, is when the tours end.  At 10:00, we'd have to vacate.  And we were allowed to drink all the beer we wanted.  We were limited to four people using the pool.  

Starkenberger Brewery also has a restaurant (which was closed for ruhetag yesterday) and a "Biermythos" museum.  I think the grounds are also beautiful, though due to the weather, we didn't get to see much of them.  I wanted to see the museum, so I told Bill we should go to the brewery right after we were done at Highline 179.  It turned out that it was a lucky thing I'd suggested that.

Front of the brewery and the museum.

After stopping in a nearby town to get some cash (not sure if you have to pay in cash, but Bill wanted to be prepared), we showed up at the brewery.  There was... you guessed it... a large tourbus group there.  The tour guide went to speak to the lady running the shop before Bill had a chance to ask her about the beer pool.  When he did, the lady looked confused, then a little panicked.  She was not expecting us.

First, she said that the pool had to be reserved in advance and costs 250 euros.  Bill said he knew and he had reserved it.  And he had the cash in hand.  Then she asked if he had the email.  He had to turn roaming on his cell phone because although he had printed the emails, he had forgotten to bring them.  Then, the lady said she needed to prepare the pool, so we might not be able to go in right at five.  That was fine with us.  I asked if we could see the museum.  She said yes and handed us a packet of information in English, which basically told us what we were looking at.

The brewery tour costs 7 euros per person, but since we were paying to use the beer pool, we didn't have to pay for the tour.  It's entirely self-guided and you go at your own pace.  Don't be surprised if you run into a beer maker as you make your way through.

Entrance to the museum.

The tour was very interesting, but I really needed to use the ladies room because my lunchtime beer had processed and, truthfully, I was there for the pool!  I rushed through the exhibits a bit.  We finally got to the big hall where we could taste some of the products made at the brewery.  The tour group was there and they were all drinking beer.  The tour guide who had spoken to the shopkeeper ahead of us told us the beer was one euro each.  Bill paid it, even though he didn't have to.  I think she got a kick out of getting tipped by the clueless Americans.

While we were exploring the museum, the shopkeeper found the email Bill sent.  She later explained that she'd been on holiday during that time, so her assistant had been the one who had answered Bill.  For some reason, she never saw the follow up email Bill sent.  She presented us with a bottle of beer liqueur and Starkenberger single malt liqueur for our troubles (yes, they do make whiskey and liqueurs, too-- whiskey is basically made the same way beer is).  That was a very nice and totally unnecessary, but much appreciated, gesture.

It was lucky that we got there early.  If we hadn't, we might have been disappointed.  If this post makes you want to reserve a pool at the Starkenberger brewery, make sure you get a confirmation from them.  Also, print out the emails you send and have them with you when you show up.

After the rowdy tour group cleared out, the shopkeeper found us and said it was no problem to use the beer pool at 5:00.  She prepared it for us and offered us robes, slippers, and towels.  We had our own towels and I had a robe, but we did use the slippers.  Then, at 5:00, we went to her, paid 250 euros, and she invited us to the beer pool.  She said she'd be back at 10:00 and we were welcome to use the infrared sauna and showers and drink as much beer as we wanted.  There was a tap with lager in the beer pool room or we could go back to the tasting room and get the biologic or dark beer from there.  I'd already had a few from the tasting room and I was itching to try the pool.

She set up a couple of lounge chairs for us and told us to have a good time.  Then she left us completely alone to enjoy the pool at our leisure!  Let me just say, it was awesome.  We had a wonderful time!  And honestly, after the beer pool experience, other beer spas will probably pale in comparison.  One of the things I loved most about the beer pool was all the cool art on the walls.  Whoever painted in there had a great, raunchy sense of humor!  I noticed all the people in the murals were naked and had hilarious expressions on their faces.

Cool exhibit in beer pool room showing how beer ferments.

Beer tap.  All you can drink.  Plastic cups for safety.



Yes, you can do this... or, at least we could.  The naughty murals were inspiring.  

Someone's gloves on a beam.  We thought they might be trunks.

I liked the panorama room, with its beautiful mural and scene of the surrounding countryside.

One of many empty glasses.

This was the information about what we were seeing.  The museum has information in several languages.

The last room in the museum.

The way the pool looked before we got in.

At the beginning of our dip in the pool.

Check out the art!

We took a short break on the loungers because we needed to de-wrinkle a bit.

Bill was loving it!

Toward the end of our adventure.

A funny poem in the bathroom.

There is a special bathroom for patrons of the beer pool not to be used by employees or regular visitors.

Last look at the pool before we left...

I am about 5'2" tall.  The warm water and beer mixture came up to my chin.  It was deeper than the pool we had in our backyard in Texas and, yes, you really can swim in it.  We got in the pool, swam around, drank lots of beer, and eventually ditched our swimsuits.  We stayed until about 8:00, then decided we'd had enough of our decadent beer pool adventure.  One thing we didn't bring but should have is soap and shampoo.  But the shower worked fine for hosing off the beer aroma.


We had an unforgettable time at the beer pool.  Yes, it was absolutely worth paying 250 euros to do it, especially after hiking up a mountain.  The hot beer water did nice things for my sore muscles.  Would we do it again?  Maybe, if we had the opportunity and the extra money.  One thing I will mention is that I had forgotten that the Tirol region is full of curvy, two lane roads.  If we did go to the beer pool again, I think we would stay in a hotel closer to Tarrenz than Lermoos because driving on dark, wet, curvy mountain roads after enjoying beer is not the safest idea.  Fortunately, Bill was very careful about not drinking much.  I have noticed that after my dips at the beer spas, my skin and hair is looking great!

Dinner last night at the hotel.  I was gushing about the beer pool!  And I was also a bit tipsy.

A video about the Starkenberger beer pool.  Here, I see they didn't fill it as high and they served beer in glass.  

We checked out of the hotel this morning.  The innkeepers had put a little goodbye card in the menu holder on our table.  It was a very nice gesture.  We said goodbye to the tour group and got on the road, experiencing no issues at the border.  We got home at about 11:45am, after making a stop at that same exit where I ran into the pooping, farting lady.  I think I speak for Bill when I say that our Beer and Fucking tour is sure to go down as one of our best trips.  We had a marvelous time.  I can't wait to start planning our next adventure!