1970: May 26, Gillenfeld – Memmingen

To our great relief the day dawned fine and we didn’t have to pack a wet tent. Got everything done quite well and departed about 9.45am. Drove along the same route as Saturday for about one-third of the way, crossing the Rhine and driving through forests. Much less awful driving on the motorway – obviously we met the weekend drivers amongst Saturday’s lot. Turned off before Frankfurt on the motorway to Karlsruhe, some of which is incomplete, but made good progress and still through forests. Weather fine and warm. Met loads of army traffic – you certainly get the impression the German and US forces work for their living, they’re forever moving around.

Stopped for lunch in large layby and enjoyed smoked ham and salad and fresh fruit. Layby’s are well planned and there are lots of them with plenty of room for picnicking and various levels of eating arrangements and some with just toilets.

Drove on along the E11 past Stuttgart (home of Mercedes Benz) through forests still, turning off the motorway at Ulm. Here we’d hoped to rent something on the camp site for the night. Crossed the Danube (quite wide here, joined by the Iller) and crawled round Neo-Ulm, very depressing. The camp site ditto, and nothing for the night so drove on to Memmingen down a terrible road, the N19. What with home going traffic from the factories, tractors galore with wagons laden with silage and raving lunatics and roadworks and diversions, it was more trying than all the motorway driving put together. Houses increasingly Bavarian in character – tall, shuttered windows and over-hanging eaves.

At Memmingen found a hotel with a room for the five of us and had three beds pushed together for a Great Hague Bed. Went out for supper and had an enormous platter of chicken and chips, delicious and freshly cooked and were we ready for it by the time it came! and wine. Children very good and settled happily in the bed under continental eiderdowns. Gareth slept at the foot like a hot water bottle.

We went for a walk and liked Memmingen very much. Has canals, narrow streets, some painted houses and surprisingly smart and trendy shops (including a drug store remarkably like the Way In). A nice Garden Centre too, some lovely flower shops and several confectioners with fascinating cakes on show. In short, a town with marked character and very pleasant to stroll around. Old gateways still exist incidentally. Went to the hotel for a cup of tea (me) and coffee (David) and were fascinated by the change in character of the dining room from when we’d first looked in at 5.30pm when all the mend had been in for a drink. By 10.00pm it looked much more homely and we had pleasant drinks before going to bed.

NB in the room opposite ours a Driving School (fahr Schule) was in session – they have a written paper and it all looked most complicated and to see the driving of some of them you wouldn’t think they had ever know what to do.

350 miles (!)


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