“Jeez, Hon, this reminds me of the lower east side at home in New York City. Check it out!”

My Fellow agrees with a smile and says, “Yeah, but we never had a beautiful view of the city from the bathtub like this!” This bathtub is in the kitchen. It’s like the railroad apartments we knew in the City where the tub is always in the kitchen. But here the tub is on a raised platform in the center behind the stove. It does have a great view.

To the German woman who owns this house he grins and says, “Yes, this will be fine.”

Then it begins. She reviews our passports with typical Teutonic gravity, sucks in a breath, and growls, “Ziss is not good. I have but one room and it is for husband und vife. You are brozer und zister. Und you cannot schleep togetzer.”

Stunned into silence, we gape at each other and try to regroup our thoughts. Again? What’s with these Europeans and the brother-sister vs. husband-wife relationship? Don’t husbands and wives use the same surname?

With my limited German, I explain that we are indeed husband and wife. We are students from the American Academy in Rome touring Germany. I point out my maiden name. I point out that we do not look alike in any way. I point out that even though My Fellow is partially of German extraction, he does not know the German language. We are married Americans and we share his surname. We are not brozer und zister.

She considers all this, glares, hands back our passports, and grumbles, “Acch, ya, you can remain here. You may have bath in kitchen between four und five ziss afternoon before my family eats.”

We don’t know whether to be relieved or not but the bedroom is quiet and acceptably appointed. And we’re very tired and need to get clean. I think a bath with that lovely view will be delicious.

I’m just beginning to soak when our host enters the kitchen and proceeds to hover and watch me bathe. Of course I’m naked. Now my nerves are naked. What do I say? It’s her kitchen. I’m ready to cry but damned if I’ll give this frau the satisfaction. I gather my German and attitude and bark at her to go away, close the door, and not return for twenty minutes. She doesn’t speak and leaves. HA.

Clean and feeling smug, I relate the bathing experience. I warn My Fellow that perhaps the view of the city isn’t worth it. Especially since his man parts might be more interesting to observe. He opts to be slightly rank.

He just shakes his head and mutters, “Brother and sister, what the hell.”

I found this place in the $5 a Day travel book. It gets good reviews and is cheap. It doesn’t mention anything about a crazy suspicious proprietor who…

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