Espresso Served with Snout-walking Furry Creature

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I made history today. In Basel. At my favorite cafe.

I placed the cafe’s first order for a triple espresso.

The owner, Mich, honored the occasion with a buy-two-espressos-get-the-third-shot-for-free.

Am I a microcelebrity: 15 seconds of fame in a very small area of celebrity — my table at the cafe? Yes. Does that make me cool? Yes. But don’t take my word for it, talk to my press agent.

The cafe, Nasobem, is a happy place filled with warm light and bright colors, English and German books for sale, and quirky little toys like mini-lego sets and really awesomely decorated ultra bouncy super balls. And, of course, coffee.

The cafe, by the way, is named for a fictious creature called a Nasobame, or snouter, from the 1905 poem Das Nasobem by Christian Morgenstern. From there, the fictional creature, which walks on its nose, was adopted by others and took on a life of its own.

Here’s Wikipedia’s description:

The Rhinogradentia (also called Rhinogrades, snouters, or Nasobames) are a fictitious mammal order documented by the equally fictitious German naturalist Harald Stümpke. The order’s most remarkable characteristic was the nasorium, an organ derived from the ancestral species’ nose, which had variously evolved to fulfil every conceivable function.

Both the animals and the scientist were ostensibly creations of Gerolf Steiner, a zoology professor at the University of Karlsruhe, who drew his inspiration from a poem by Christian Morgenstern.

According to Stümpke’s account, the snouters were discovered on the main island of Hiddudify in 1941 by the Swedish explorer Einar Pettersson-Skämtkvist when he landed on the island trying to escape spies in WW2. Unfortunately, as a consequence of atomic bomb testing, the islands suddenly sank into the ocean in the late 1950s. Thus perished all traces of the snouters, their unique ecosystem, and all the world’s specialists on that intriguing subject — who happened to be holding their congress there at the time.

Although the first widely available report on these creatures was Stümpke’s book (1957), an early reference to them is found in Christian Morgenstern’s poem Das Nasobem (“The Nasobame”, 1905).The Great Morgenstern’s Nasobame (Nasobema lyricum), a dog-size animal that walked on four snouts, was named in the poet’s honor.

Check it Out:
Cafe Nasobem
Frobenstrasse 2, Basel

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