This is the sixteenth in a series by Howard LaPlante on his early experiences with cars.
After talking to the German police as to just where in Germany we were and what road we should take to find our way, I noted that my wife was noticeably laughing as she walked back to our new BMW 325.
As she got in the car she was indeed laughing! As she calmed down enough to tell me, we both laughed! After asking for directions, the police had told her “immer gerade aus!” In other words, just keep on driving the main road – or straight on! Easier said than done, we had not gone a kilometer before we came to a “Y” in the road. There were no signs as to which was the main road! We looked carefully and decided that the one to the left looked like it was “perhaps” the most used road. Then a few more kilometers down the road we again came to a “Y”! And then again another few more kilometers it happened again! Eventually we found our road and enjoyed our experience of driving the small out-of-the-way roads!
“Immer gerade aus” has become a staple of our Porsche touring.
Having a German wife is of significant advantage when driving in Germany! We explored the back roads and the small villages. We “shunpiked” ! ( that is we avoided the “pike” or the main roads!) We were definitely staying off the tourist routes! At midmorning one day we noted a small village that appeared to be at the rivers edge, it looked interesting from our “main” road. We went to investigate and It turned out to be all that we had expected and more. The village had two streets, one that was at the rivers edge and one paralleling it. Ok, but we wanted to drive along the river if at all possible, well there was a street that went to the river. We started down it and discovered that it had been there so long that it was still only wide enough for horse carts. It was narrow all right! We had to push the outside mirrors in to squeeze through! But it was worth the trouble! There on the street next to the river was a small bake shop! We parked and went in, yes they had coffee and pastries, however no place to sit, but across the street, next to the river were picnic tables. But would they allow us to take the coffee and dishes, (real china) across the street? Well of course! It was wonderful coffee,pastry and hospitality!
We drove from Munich where we picked up the car to Berchtesgaden where we found a very nice small B&B. Our stay was over the May day festival in this small town. The hosts suggested that we go into town and observe the “raising of the May Pole.” It was a wonderful and entertaining day. The pole was resting with one end about 4 inches off the ground when we arrived. Everyone was dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes. At a signal several men came over to the pole and made ready to lift the pole. The got together with lifting poles and ropes and then they lifted – about 3 feet! Then they took a break and had a glass of beer! After the beer was gone, they again lifted the pole another 3 feet! And again another glass of beer! It took quite a while to get the pole all the way up, but they did! A fun day, but we did not keep up with the beer consumption!
Eventually we worked our way from southern Bavaria up to the Mosel river and headed north. Our eventual destination was Elfi’s hometown of Hamburg. But as we headed north along the river we encountered many, many small vineyards, and most of them advertised tasting! Well we stopped and tasted and bought a bottle or three. And went on and then there was another vineyard and another and – well by the time we reached Hamburg we had a rather full trunk! But the relatives were appreciative and helped in the consumption thereof!
The trip went well, we had a most enjoyable time! The BMW was a delight to drive and Elfi only screamed once! We were coming down a narrow mountain road when around a blind hairpin corner a large bus appeared, taking up more than half of the road! It was close but no scrapes!
But then one fine afternoon we pulled in to the town of Freiburg (Im Breisgau). A very picturesque town with ruins dating from Roman times, worth a look. Parking of course a problem. But then just in time a parking garage. A bit of a queue to get in, very slow going. Like most European parking garages it was dark, narrow and very low ceilings. Well! apparently BMW suffered from claustrophobia! She stopped and refused to go any further! People got out of their vehicles to help us push the car out of the way!
– To be continued.