May 29: Luxembourg to Mannheim, Germany

WE got up about 5:45 AM, had breakfast and got on the road about 8. We drove on into the city of Luxembourg, which is a city of many levels set among the mountains. We stopped and walked down a cobblestone path for a view of the Cathedral, palace and town hall.

We left Luxembourg (city) and drove through the country toward Trier, Germany. The country of Luxembourg is lovely, green and rolling - much more exciting than Belgium.

After crossing into Germany (Customs was just a check of passport and green card) and crossing the Mosell River at Trier, we entered the vineyard country. On both sides of the Mosell, vineyards stretch from the water's edge to the tops of the hills.

The drive from Schweich to Bernkastel-Kues was the loveliest countryside that we have seen up to now. Dotted along the river are small villages with the characteristic church steeples. The roads were nice and the countryside quiet and inviting.

Just after crossing the Mosell and passing through Neumagen we climbed a steep winding road through the vineyards. We could see the lovely village and river below. We pulled off into a vineyard road and had a picnic lunch.

We drove on along the Mosell to Bernkastel-Kues which is a fairly good sized town, straddling the Mosell. It is obviously popular with the tourists. There were many attractive buildings of the bare-timber style known as Tudor in Britain.

We turned south at Bernkastel and climbed steadily for about three miles out of the Mosell country. We entered nice woodland country dotted with tiny villages, all very much alike with the church at the center of a small cluster of houses.

We drove to Morbach, then via #269 to Birkenfeld and by 41 and 270 to Kaiserslauten where we joined the autobahn. All through this stretch we went through small towns, usually driving on cobblestone streets in the towns. The muffler was gradually getting louder and we were shattering the silence of the small villages. We met a number of US Army vehicles and passed a big US Army Depot at Nahbollenbach. Obviously, this was part of the US Sector of Germany under the peace terms of World War II.

After joining the autobahn we could travel at a constant speed and the muffler didn't sound so bad. We made good time into Mannheim, making it to Charlie and Debbie Collum's apartment at about 5:15 PM.

Debbie was still waiting to have her baby - she was due on the 24th and we really expected that she would be in the hospital when we got there. Charlie made it home a few minutes later.

They have a nice apartment in Benjamin Franklin Village, a literal city of US Army personnel. There are 2080 housing units. With a total of about 3000 American children, that makes a city of about 7000. They have their own stores and recreation faciliities, and are relatively independent of the German economy around them. They got some Coleman fuel, film and groceries for us at the military stores.

Charlie had some muffler patching compound and we decided to try to patch the muffler rather than try to get a replacement in Mannheim. We patched the muffler and it was then apparent that the connection to the exhaust manifold was leaking. We put some of the sealing compound on the connection and decided to leave it overnight.

They fixed a terrific steak supper for us with baked potatoes and sour cream, iced tea and apple pie. We sat around an talked until midnight.

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