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Rumpel de Pumpel

Anaberg, Erzgebirge
July 23, 2003

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In the central square of Anaberg, there is a large bronze statue -- just as there are large bronze statues in the central squares of all European towns. But unlike most, this one doesn't depict a king or a bishop or a general, or even a queen. At the center of Anaberg stands Barbara Uttman, a 16th-century lacemaker and businesswoman who introduced a new type of lacemaking to the area and ushered in its golden age of prosperity.

I sat on a bench near Barbara, and the girls ran around chasing local kids while Jen checked the tourism office for hotel recommendations. It was market day and the square was packed with little trailers staffed by farmers selling produce, or bakers selling rolls, or dairymen selling cheese. In lieu of lunch, I wandered over to a small trailer selling marinated olives & peppers and bought a small baggie of pesto olives. Back at my bench I popped one into my mouth and savored the oil, the basil, the olive. The vendor watched and then, shaking his head slightly, stepped down from the trailer and walked over to me, with a paper towel in his hand and a slight smile on his face. "Danke," I said. "Bitte," he replied.

The tourist office referred us to Zum Anaberg, where we were placed in the Barbara Uttman suite -- large, immaculate, newly furnished. We were standing in the living room later that evening, discussing whether to go out, when the heavy brass room key slipped from my hands and fell to the floor with a heavy clack. Jen, without pausing or interrupting her sentence, burst out, "Oh! Pergo!"