09 May 2011

Milchautomat

Since we can't possibly carry 50 countries worth of reference books around with us (and we do not, will not, cannot own kindles, ipads or iphones), we have developed a habit of having book after book shipped home during one block of travel to be picked up before the next. Last time we were in America, a stack awaited us in Vermont, where Merlin's father had flipped through Swiss Mountain Inns. "You have to let me know if you come across a self-service milk machine" he told us (paraphrased). Well, when we saw the sign above on the side of the road, we knew we had to make a U-Turn and check it out.
A few feet further was the next signpost, reading "LUST AUF MILCH?" It's amazing how readable German seems sometimes. We parked across the way and began to walk along the edge of the road. I brought my Klean Kanteen, so that we could maybe fill it up with milk just to see how it all works. Being as it was about 70degrees, neither of us were terribly in the mood (cue scene from Anchorman), but we also needed to be prepared to take advantage of any opportunity that arose.
After poking around someone's property, we found the milchautomat. Its design wasn't particularly subtle and we ran around to check out its innards.
Sadly, the marker board alerted us that milk was only available about five. Kudos to them for keeping things fresh - and for providing some paper towel to keep things clean as well. The machine itself was smaller than I was expecting, with a small spout that hung from the bottom. It had a start button as well as a stop button. Prices were only by the liter, so it seems smart that they'd give someone the option of paying that minimum, but ending things sooner. Also, I imagine that some people fill multiple small bottles. The machine was a Brunimat, the Swiss brand that first introduced milk vending machines to Europe in 1994. Apparently, they also have milkshake machines- a much more welcome concept on a warm pre-summer day.

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