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what a long cold winter it's been
A day that lasted 5,300 years
Ötzi awoke drowsily on a crisp spring morning. He'd been experiencing stomach pains due to an infection of "whip-worm" and was following a regimen of ingesting a certain fungus that would expel this troublesome invader from his body, but it would take time. At 45 years old, around his parts he was known as an "elder".
He passed on breakfast. The unleavened bread made of einkorn wheat, an herb, and meat from the night before was enough to tide him over for a little while.
He strapped on his leather loincloth, slipped into his animal -skin leggings, shoes and jacket and topped off the affair with a woven reed cape (lined with fur of course). He was feeling a little arthritic and probably slow to get started. Before heading off to his adventure he grabbed his pouch and made sure that it contained a copper-bladed ax, an unfinished bow and flint knives, tools and fire starters. Since he was still battling his intestinal invader, he also brought along fungus to take along the way, some mushrooms and berries in case he became hungry.
He left the Schnals Valley and headed towards the Tryolean Alps (near today's Austrian/Italian border) where he disappeared--to be discovered by a couple in 1991 during their hike (5,300 years later).
No one is sure what happened between the time Ötzi left his home and was discovered and, specifically, what cuased his death. Only that, he'd suffered from some recently broken ribs, a slight lung infection and some intestinal parasites. While some theorize that he was caught in a snow-storm others think he fell, or that he was just exhausted from the maladies he'd incurred.
His perfectly preserved, mummified, body has given scientists and unexpected peek into one man's life towards the end of the stone age.
Today, you can visiti Ötzi, better known as "the iceman", at the Museum Archologic Sud Triol in Bolzano (at the border with Austria). You'll find him on display in a freezer with a small glass bullet-proof window. He stays at a cozy six degrees below freezing at 100% humidity (the same conditions in which he was found and preserved).
In the town of Bolzano, Ötzi has created an "icemania" of sorts. The museum's gift shop carries Ötzi books, postcards, t-shirts, baseball caps (quite different from his own) and... "Ötzi iced tea". In stores near the museum one can find "Ötzi ice cream," an "Ötzi cake" (which looks like ET in a straw hat), and bottles of "Ötziwein"," with the 5,300 year-old-likeness of the iceman on the label.
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