May 31: Lorrach, Germany

My very limited knowledge of German plus the phrase book have really paid off. We are the only English speaking people in the camp at Lorrach.

I was able to buy stamps (Briefmarken) from the little shop and ask of him directions to the nearest garage. I had checked up on the words in the phrase book and went up to the counter of the shop and asked "Wo ist die nachst Reparatur-werkstatte?"(Where is the nearest garage for repairs?). He must have understood clearly, because he responded with a torrent of German. I put down a piece of paper and asked "Schribe es, bitte?" He drew me a map to the Opel garage, about half a mile away. I walked there and asked a salesman "Sprechen sie English?". "Nein. ... Spricht jemand Englisch?" he asked the receptionist, who came up with one of the young clerks who spoke some English.

He asked if he could help me. I told him my muffler had burst. He shook his head and said to the other man "Es is nicht zu mir!", and then to me "Do you speak any German?" I replied "Mein ausspufftopf is kaput.. is defekt." This was understood and he took me to the service manager, who spoke no English. I took the car there, and they agreed to get a muffler from Basel, Switzerland and have the car ready by three or four o'clock.

I got a travelers cheque cashed and walked back to the campsite. There is a very impressive looking castle on the hill above the campsite so we decided to walk toward it. We were about a quarter mile from the campsite when it came a downpour of rain. We were drenched to the skin when we returned to the tent. We took off our wet clothes and huddled under blanket and coat to eat lunch.

Sometime after lunch the storm subsided and we walked downtown in Lorrach. It is very modern and attractive. We would like to have bought lots of things but we settled for a kilogram of bananas and tomatoes.

About 3:30 I went back to the Opel agency. They were still off on their 2 hour lunch break, but soon returned. I waited until 5:15 and finally got the car. They had not gotten a muffler from Basel but had welded the old one. The price was reasonable DM35 ($8.75). The connection to the manifold still leaked - I slapped some more cement on it without being too optimistic about the result.

We washed the car .. it was filthy.

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